TMF to fund Labor Dept. data project

The Technology Modernization Fund doled out its first project of 2021 the day after getting $1 billion in the Biden administration's Rescue Plan legislation.

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Within 24 hours of receiving its most substantial boost yet, the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) awarded the Department of Labor $9.6 million to modernize its enterprise data infrastructure on Friday.

The announcement of the 11th ever TMF project came the day after the fund received a $1 billion funding boost from the American Rescue Plan. That's a dramatic expansion for the fund, which has been getting appropriations of around $25 million.

"The news of the Technology Modernization Fund getting a $1 billion boost from the American Rescue plan couldn't have come at a better time" said David Shive, GSA Chief Information Officer and TMF Board member, in a General Services Administration announcement about the decision.

The new project will improve the availability of the agency's data by boosting operational efficiency and public services so that federal agencies and other data consumers can access information more easily.

IT modernization projects like this have the potential to help address larger, societal issues from the climate crisis to the pandemic, said acting GSA administrator Katy Kale.

"These IT-related modernization initiatives, working together, represent a very ambitious commitment to addressing these crises across the whole of government," she said. "Today, we can extend that approach, supporting the DOL mission to advance technology and unify their IT platform to support the mission."

Ultimately, the project at the Labor Department will also support evidence-based decision-making by creating data management capacity and easing the secure delivery of information, the GSA's announcement says.

Former deputy federal CIO Margie Graves told FCW that administrative changes at TMF might be needed to adapt to its surge in funding. Currently, projects require two stages of approval after agencies introduce projects to the board, and there's a concern that the current approach could logjam the process.

"The way we had the board set up for $25 million to $100 million is not going to work for this," she said.

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