16 Dec 3 Themes from TASSCC State of the State
The Texas Association of State Systems for Computing and Communications (TASSCC) hosted its annual State of the State Conference Friday, Dec. 3 at the Hyatt Regency Austin. This event featured thought leaders from Texas agencies and higher education institutions, exploring the role and future of IT within the state.
After a day’s worth of thought-provoking presentations, the three themes of State of the State and the upcoming year were clear: (1) The Digital Divide, (2) Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and (3) Digital Transformation.
THE DIGITAL DIVIDE
The “digital divide” was a topic of discussion at State of the State, bringing to light a humanitarian issue.
Some areas of Texas, especially the Rio Grande Valley (a region with the state’s highest poverty rate), are unable to access information because there is no broadband availability. The lack of Internet connection means entire communities are left out of the state, country, and world’s knowledge share, which ultimately hinders their educational and professional opportunities.
Access to information goes a long way in improving quality of life. For instance, Internet connection alone can increase economic development, improve access to government services, improve access to news, improve access to health resources, and more.
Later on in the day, during a session with the Texas Tribune co-founders, a member of the audience asked what’s being done to address the lack of broadband availability along the state’s border – once again, calling attention to the issue and seeking action from leaders.
DIVERSITY, EQUITY, & INCLUSION
Another key theme at State of the State was how much Texas is growing in numbers and diversity.
State Demographer Dr. Lloyd Potter took the stage to share demographic trends in Texas, revealing the state not only continues to grow in numbers – but it also continues to become more diverse.
From 2010 to 2020, the state’s population has increased 15.9%, adding nearly four million people in that timeframe. It’s also important to note there was more than a 90% increase in people of color with the Hispanic population growing two million in that same time frame.
Based on the data, it’s apparent the state is growing and Potter projects we’ll keep experiencing significant population growth through 2050.
Later in the day, TASSCC President Anh Selissen moderated a Diversity and Inclusion panel to speak more on DEI programs within organizations. The three panelists shared experiences leading these programs, best practices for engaging program sponsors, and encouragement for everyone to be an upstander, not a bystander.
“Pace in technology is fast, DEI takes patience.”
– Lisa Jammer, Director of People and Culture, Texas Department of Information Resources
The Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) joined State of the State to update on its 2022 – 2026 Strategic Plan for Information Resources Management.
DIR’s mission is to lead the state’s technology strategy, protect state technology infrastructure, and offer innovative and cost-effective solutions for all levels of government. And one of its main priorities for the next five years is advancing digital transformation.
To achieve this, they’ve launched Texas x Texas (TxT) – a digital assistant (available online and through a mobile app) that makes accessing government services easier. Agencies throughout the state are encouraged to work through TxT versus creating their own app, making things much easier for constituents.
Users will only need one universal login and password to access services across state agencies. So, from a central location, you can renew your vehicle registration, replace your driver’s license, set up alerts for important due dates, and more.
Access Sciences would like to thank TASSCC for another successful State of the State. We appreciate the opportunity to learn about the strategic direction of technology in Texas, and we’re looking forward to next year’s event!
For more TASSCC content, check out our conference blog, “TASSCC 2021: Battling Cybersecurity Threats.”