The County Voice

Nevada County: Collaborative Technology Center
California Counties' Best Practices

“Passion” isn’t a word commonly used in conjunction with technology. But “passion” is what has made Nevada County’s Collaborative Technology Center a reality — and a success.

Chief Information Officer Steve Monaghan wanted to create a technology center in Nevada County for years. He sees first-hand the technological constraints rural county residents face — even with something most of us take for granted, like connecting to the internet. But a multi-million dollar price tag for a technology center was always a stumbling block. Steve, though, never shelved his idea, and an executive staff retreat motivated him to find a way to make it happen. And he did that by working collaboratively with different government agencies and the local community.

Nevada County can now boast that it operates one of the most innovative technology centers for residents among our counties. All you need is a local library card to use computers, access the internet, take a wide variety of computer training courses, use 3-D printers, or utilize the state-of-the art webcast rooms. The cost to users? Nothing.

The center’s development and ongoing operations also doesn’t cost the county general fund a penny.  The portables that house the 2,000-square-foot Center — which connects seamlessly onto the main library — were donated by the local school district; CalWORKS funding is used to cover a lot of the operational costs because residents receiving computer (aka job) training. And volunteers help to teach courses.

For Vaile Fujikawa, the center’s manager, the passion associated with the Collaborative Technology Center comes from seeing the benefits Nevada County residents enjoy after taking the free courses. Her eyes light up and her smile grows wide when she talks about the impact these courses have on local residents.

And for County Librarian Laura Pappani, her passion is magnified when she sees a significant uptick in local residents utilizing the library. And that translates into an increase of usage of traditional library materials, such as printed books. She also understands and embraces the need to provide residents with the latest communication and educational tools.

Passion, perseverance, commitment – they are the true foundation of Nevada County’s Collaborative Technology Center.

CSAC is producing a series of videos and blog postings highlighting California Counties’ best practices. The programs we are spotlighting are the 2014 recipients of our annual Challenge Awards, which recognize the innovative and creative spirit of California county governments. The Challenge Awards provide California’s 58 counties an opportunity to share their best practices with counties around the state and nation. The Call for Entries for the 2015 CSAC Challenge Awards has been distributed; the entry deadline is June 26, 2015. 

To view a video about Nevada County’s Collaborative Technology Center, click here.

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