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San José Recognized for Using Data to Respond to Local Challenges

City receives designation of Silver Level from What Works Cities

Post Date:07/17/2020 9:00 AM

July 17, 2020

Media Contact 

Nora S. Ramirez, Office of Mayor Liccardo; (661) 330-5142 or 

SAN JOSÉ, CA - Mayor Sam Liccardo announced today that San José has been recognized for achieving the silver status of the 2020 What Works Cities Certification, which evaluates how city leaders improve residents' lives by effectively using data and evidence to tackle pressing challenges. These measures include whether they have the right people, processes, and policies in place to put data and evidence at the center of decision-making -- against a national standard of excellence. 

San José is one of only 16 cities to achieve certification at the silver level. Over the past year, the city has demonstrated measurable progress on foundational data practices, representing San José’s commitment to advancing how data is used to better serve residents. 

“We launched San Jose's Smart City Vision in 2015, at a time when the City suffered from years of underinvestment in digital and IT infrastructure, burdened with a large "tech debt" remaining from the Great Recession. Since that time, the extraordinary work of our collective team--City staff, and the Mayor's Office of Technology and Innovation, and our tech-savvy community--has enabled San Jose to obtain national recognition for creating more innovative government, launching a Digital Inclusion Partnership that is rapidly closing the Digital Divide, improving emergency response, and using data for better decision-making,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo.   

Liccardo continued, “We are grateful for the recognition by What Works Cities, and for the continued partnership with What Works Cities to leverage innovation to deliver and we will continue to strive to be the best in the country."

San Jose’s recent efforts to include more data into decision-making has proven to be critical in San José’s current response and recovery efforts to the COVID-19 pandemic, including:

  • The pledge to close the digital divide through the Digital Inclusion Partnership that will deliver community grants over a ten-year period, demonstrating commitment to bringing broadband access and digital literacy support to more residents. During this pandemic, the Partnership helped coordinate donation device donation drives to help students who are now forced to distance learn. 

  • Through the San José 311 app, fielding more than 100,000 service requests from residents each year to keep our city more safe, clean, and engaged.

  • Delivering millions of free meals to vulnerable residents and recruiting more than 3,000 volunteers through the Silicon Valley Strong platform

What Works Cities (WWC) Certification, a national initiative launched by Bloomberg Philanthropies in 2015, is one of the largest-ever philanthropic efforts to enhance cities’ use of data and evidence. Through the initiative’s expert partners, cities around the country are receiving technical assistance, guidance and resources to succeed in making more informed decisions, tackling local challenges, and delivering more effective services and programs for their residents.

Nearly 200 U.S. cities have completed What Works Cities Assessments; to date, only 24 cities have met the What Works Cities national standard in achieving Certification.


About the City of San José

With more than one million residents, San José is one of the most diverse large cities in the United States and is Northern California’s largest city and the 10th largest city in the nation. San José’s transformation into a global innovation center has resulted in one of the largest concentrations of technology companies and expertise in the world. In 2011, the City adopted Envision San José 2040, a long-term growth plan that sets forth a vision and a comprehensive road map to guide the City’s anticipated growth through the year 2040.

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