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Office of Data and Innovation launches CalAcademy training Program

The Office of Data and Innovation (ODI) is beginning 2024 with an important new initiative. As part of our mission to build a culture of innovation within state government, ODI is launching its training program known as CalAcademy.

The goal is simple: to make sure state workers have access to learn 21st Century innovative skills and tools that can help them deliver better services for Californians.

CalAcademy Office of Data and Innovation logo

ODI’s expertise in human-centered design and data-driven decision making allows us to serve as subject matter experts in developing courses that will complement ODI’s plain language standard created in response to the Governor’s Executive Order on Embedding Equity N-16-22 (EO).

“The CalAcademy training program supports a commitment to a highly skilled workforce through our partnership with other state agencies,” said Jeffery Marino, Director of ODI. “These skills promote equity by teaching state staff how to engage and codesign with Californians. Codesign is an essential element of customer service best practices and dramatically increases the chance that a service will address the diverse needs of the people who use it.”

How will we do it? 

CalAcademy is launching two programs in early 2024 to meet these goals. First, the Introduction to Plain Language for the Public Sector course.

ODI recommends the use of plain language as the foundation for equitable service delivery. This recommendation comes from extensive research and design of government services.

Plain language increases access and usability for all:

  • it works better with screen readers,
  • respects the mental and emotional state of those seeking services during a time of crisis, and
  • it removes barriers created by complex language.

This course is led online by subject matter experts within the ODI team. Attendees will learn the basics of plain language and tools to be successful in internal and external communication. The course launches in February, in partnership with CalHR, and will be offered throughout the fiscal year at no cost to state employees or departments.

CalAcademy has also partnered with InnovateUS to launch the Innovation Skills Accelerator. InnovateUS is a project of the nonprofit, nonpartisan Governance Lab and is a leading expert in government innovation and human-centered design training. This virtual, 15-module course introduces state staff to human-centered design. The program is self-paced and provides a certificate upon completion. There is no cost to state employees or departments for this course.

Module topics include:

  • How to use new technologies responsibly
  • How to define actionable problems
  • How to use data and human-centered design
  • How to design effective and equitable solutions
  • How to measure and scale what works

Using human-centered design puts people and customers first. “CalAcademy is excited to collaborate with state departments to integrate human-centered design practices into their organizations,” said Anne Crew-Renzo, Training Program Manager for CalAcademy. “This collaboration with InnovateUS is an opportunity to improve workforce training and it strengthens California’s leadership in terms of improving services for all Californians.”