At Idea Center, we feature replicable government programs, online innovations and useful resources. This year's recently announced Innovations in American Government Awards went to six such replicable government initiatives. Each year, the Harvard Kennedy School's Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation honors government innovation with $100,000 cash grants. Many of the award-winning programs have gone on to be widely adopted, particularly Illinois' groundbreaking 311 hotline from 1994. The four 2008 state and local government award-winners are:
o The New York City Acquisition Fund, which makes housing more readily available and affordable to disadvantaged residents by providing local and not-for-profit developers with bridge financing to acquire private property for the construction and preservation of affordable housing.
o Missouri's Department of Youth Services, which provides treatment and educational services to rehabilitate young people who have become involved with the juvenile justice system. The juvenile program was featured in Governing's January 2006 issue.
o Arizona's Getting Ready: Keeping Communities Safe, which prepares inmates for their return to society by modeling the prison setting after the real world.
o And, North Carolina's Learn and Earn, which seeks to help underperforming high school students jumpstart their college educations and better prepare for today's competitive workforce through online college-credit courses at no cost to them or to their families.