On February 22, 2023, I ventured to Dearborn, Michigan to meet with the city’s mayor Abdullah Hammoud and local citizens. The purpose of the visit was to announce a collaborationwith the city to modernize its IT and data infrastructure and provide digital services. I left inspired and with the belief that what’s happening here could be a model for American cities as they digitally transform.
As a birthplace of the automobile industry and headquarters to Ford Motor Company, Dearborn is an entrepreneurial city with deep roots in industry. Its legacy is one of spirited determination. Bordering Detroit, the city is home to approximately 110,000 residents1 and hosts a diverse population. More than half the people in Dearborn speak a language other than English at home.
The Mayor was kind enough to show me the city, and we drove to all corners of Dearborn to understand the impact that the collaboration with Google will help make in the lives of people who live there.
Building more responsive and accessible government services
For example, to better serve Dearborn’s diverse population, the city will provide access to core citizen-services in multiple languages online – 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Currently, in many cases people must interact with the city during business hours Monday through Friday, which means some must take off work to physically go to a city building and wait in line. Moving forward, residents will be able to operate and process critical requests faster and online – such as applying for permits and licenses. Virtual agents on the website will deliver personalized information and interactions in three languages (Arabic, English and Spanish) with chat and voice, powered by Google Cloud Contact Center AI (CCAI). The city website and documents will be translation enabled by Translation Hub and Document AI, which will help expand the reach and delivery of vital government information and services.
Streamlining workforce operations to better serve Dearborn
The city’s workforce of 1,600 manages critical operations and services for the community. Through our partnership, every one of these workers will now have access to Google Workspace’s modern, secure, cloud-native productivity tools to collaborate and operate more efficiently. For 300 frontline workers, this will be the first time they have a work email address. The city’s workers will be enabled to move beyond paper-based processes to digitize information and optimize their workflows with flexible, real-time, integrated collaboration. This also unlocks data and analytics, which significantly helps city leaders make more informed decisions. Dearborn can transform with confidence and peace of mind with an improved security posture across the implementation.
Providing a pathway to professional development and economic growth
Dearborn is a hub of automotive, steel manufacturing and healthcare innovation. The emerging workforce in Dearborn needs the technical skills required to thrive in this workplace. As part of our collaboration, we announced that we will provide certification opportunities in Google Cloud platform to support upskilling Dearborn residents. The city is administering training, education and certifications through a local nonprofit, ACCESS.
A model for American cities
Mayor Hammoud and I ended our day at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, surrounded by local and state officials, Dearborn residents, and our local Google Cloud team. We held a discussion on stage about IT modernization, unlocking the power of data to transform local government, and the excitement from our collaboration.
I believe what is happening in Dearborn could become a model for American cities to digitally transform, resulting in better access to government services and stronger IT security.
The type of audacious change needed to improve public service can actually be quite simple: secure, affordable digital tools that help all city workers connect and communicate; secure websites powered by the cloud with AI and language tools to improve citizen accessibility; and unlocking data and analytics to inform decision-making and education to help citizens participate in the digital workforce.
Dearborn is a place of tremendous innovation that has changed the world, even as the city itself has experienced change. I know that, having served the public sector almost my entire career, innovation sometimes comes not just from bold ideas or technology, but also from people who have the courage to envision a better future and then act on that vision.
I’m inspired to see Mayor Hammoud and his team embrace digital innovation to expand access and opportunity for the City of Dearborn, and I’m excited for the role Google Public Sector will continue to play to help these important efforts.
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