Building Digital Teams in Government

U.S. Digital Response helps governments at all levels attract and retain skilled technologists to work on critical public services. With guidance and support, we empower agencies to build high-performing teams that utilize technology to transform how governments serve people.

Our approach

We deploy volunteers to help leaders in government implement best practices for hiring, onboarding, and retention. This includes:

  • Active assistance to governments in honing recruitment techniques and implementing hiring best practices
  • Strategic outreach to technologists to promote awareness of governmental positions
  • User research to enhance onboarding, paired with curated content and plans for seamless team integration
  • Swift and impactful projects supported by dedicated volunteer engagements

We also contribute collateral and lessons learned to the broader civic tech ecosystem in areas like:

  • Resources on finding jobs and hiring in government
  • Communities of practice for governments, technologists, and new hires
  • Onboarding and retention resources

“As we focus on delivering better online experiences for our constituents, we are creating new opportunities for digital professionals to bring their skills and experience to the public sector and enjoy incredibly rewarding careers. USDR's guidance and resources have been invaluable as we continue to expand our digital capabilities in Pennsylvania and become a destination for top technical talent to build new digital services."

Neil Weaver
Secretary of the Office of Administration
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

"USDR has been a great advisor and partner for the City of South Bend as we’ve built up our new Digital Team in 2023. The volunteers helped us craft hiring plans, job descriptions, and training plans. Their rich experience across roles and sectors gave us confidence as we managed change and grew our Team."

Denise Linn Riedl
Chief Innovation Officer and Head
Department of Innovation & Technology
City of South Bend

“When USDR offered up exactly what I needed to hire our new Digital Services team, I knew it was going to be fruitful. Working with the team at USDR, who has a lot of experience in this work and how other cities have worked, we knew we were working with a tight, experienced team.

Justin Elszasz
Chief Data OfficerCity of Baltimore, MD
Mayor’s Office

We can help

Help governments identify how candidates discover, evaluate, and engage with civic tech job opportunities

Draft job descriptions and interview questions that attract and evaluate top talent

Provide insights into refining the hiring process and candidate experience

Advise on optimizing org/team structures and workflows to build effective tech teams

Collaborate with governments to tailor recruitment strategies that align with candidate expectations

Establish onboarding and retention frameworks for modern technologists

Get help now

Selected case studies

City of Baltimore, MD Mayor’s Office
Building a Digital Service Team with Intentional Hiring Practices

Over the last few years, the City of Baltimore has made strides in modernizing and securing its infrastructure. Looking forward, they wanted to create a small and agile team that could hone its user experience skills and improve City services.

Understanding that technical hiring is often an overwhelming process, U.S. Digital Response (USDR) developed a set of strategies and deliverables that would help the team build its technical pipeline while emphasizing the ability to replicate the process for future hires. USDR delivered:

1. Interview and Evaluation Toolkit

2. Communications Toolkit

3. Network connections

The team filled the four job openings and had a full Digital Services team by March 2023. What’s more, the group feels set up for success in filling future technical roles and recruiting top-tier talent.

Read the full case study »Read more about this project »
Team members
Hernan Chiosso
Translator / HR Innovation Consultant
Krista Canellakis
Program Director
Persis Howe
Content Lead

Meet the team

Amy Meng
Amy is a program manager working with the Digital Delivery team to scale and operationalize USDR capabilities. She was previously Associate Director of Delivery Management at Truss, a civic tech consultancy.
Keith Wilson
Keith partners with governments within the U.S. to help them hire & retain digital talent. He previously served as the Head of People Operations at Technology Transformation Services (GSA).
Krista Canellakis
Krista leads USDR’s Digital Delivery Program. Previously, she served as Deputy Secretary, General Services for the State of California and Chief Innovation Officer for the City and County of San Francisco.
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“We are honored to see so many dedicated technologists step up to work on behalf of New York City. With technology products that work to combat hate crimes, lower language barriers, and drive digital equity, the work [...] will have a lasting impact on improving New Yorkers’ lives.”

Bill de Blasio
New York City

“USDR has provided smart, informed, and fast help for a variety of issues. They are an invaluable resource to governments at a critical time.”

Robert Gordon
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

“Volunteers from USDR have not only helped bring incredible expertise and extra hands to us in a great time of need, they’ve provided critical-thinking skills at a time when our team is working long hours and experiencing burnout.”

Rebecca Woodbury
Director of Digital Service & Open Government
City of San Rafael

“USDR has been an invaluable source of talent, helping our office move at the ‘speed of need’... I would recommend any agency consider partnering with them to add team capacity and leverage unique skill sets in these trying times.”

Ross Dakin
New Jersey Office of Innovation