The Labor Department snagged $9.6 million to improve its data management infrastructure.
One day after President Joe Biden signed a stimulus package that included $1 billion for the government’s central IT modernization fund, the board managing that fund announced one of its largest awards to date: $9.6 million to upgrade the Labor Department’s enterprise data infrastructure.
The money will come from the Technology Modernization Fund—a central fund managed by the Office of Management and Budget, established as part of the 2017 Modernizing Government Technology Act and designed to self-sustaining as programs pay back the loan over three- or five-year periods. Congress opted to give the fund a $1 billion boost as part of the latest COVID-19 relief package, with the expectation that at least some of that funding will be used for pandemic-related projects, doled out as grants with no payback expected.
The latest award to Labor includes the standard payback schedule on a five-year timeline.
For this project, Labor plans to work with commercial vendors to develop a departmentwide data infrastructure, including platforms to manage data, APIs to standardize and share the data and analytics programs to improve data management and decision-making across the agency.
“Without this funding, DOL could not accelerate development of an enterprise approach to improving data quality and expanding the number of data sets available internally and to the public,” according to a project breakdown on the TMF website. “However, with the support from the TMF, the project can be advanced as an enterprise initiative over two years, building an essential foundation.”
“With this first project approval of 2021, the TMF Board is reinforcing its commitment to invest in federal technology modernization initiatives that enable agencies to better deliver their services to the American public,” Deputy Federal Chief Information Officer and TMF Board member Maria Roat said Friday in a statement.
This isn’t Labor’s first time at the TMF trough. The agency was part of the second round of awards in October 2018, obtaining a $3.5 million loan to digitize the system for certifying foreign workers.
The award announced Friday is nearly three times that amount, putting it among the top five largest awards to come out the TMF.
“Technology is a key enabler for government in providing better services to the American public,” said David Shive, General Services Administration CIO and TMF Board. “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, and the TMF Board looks forward to receiving more project proposals like this one from DOL to consider for investment.”
The board has already begun the process of transferring $2.5 million to Labor to begin the project, with the remaining funding to be disbursed incrementally as the agency shows progress.