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State of Michigan Celebrates 170 Years of Statehood and IT Achievements

The state of Michigan joined the Union as the nation’s 26th state on January 26, 1837. To celebrate 170 years of statehood, the Michigan Historical Museum in Lansing celebrated Statehood Day 2007 with cake and presentations about the Great Lakes state.
State of Michigan's capitol in Lansing
Since 2007 also marks the 50th anniversary of the Mackinac Bridge, the Museum offered several programs related to the bridge during the Statehood Day festivities, including:

  • An historic overview of the Mackinac Bridge by a bridge engineer.
  • A display of Mackinac Bridge-related material from the Archives of Michigan.
  • Bridge-building hands-on activities for children.
  • Presentation on how Native Americans and early French explorers traveled the Straits of Mackinac.
  • An overview of historic photos of the Mackinac bridge.
  • A display of the 50th anniversary Mackinac Bridge commemorative tokens.
  • A discusison with a maintenance crew member from the Mackinac Bridge about what it’s like to work hundreds of feet above the Straits of Mackinac.
State Rewarded for IT Achievements

Michigan recently celebrated another achievement when the state government received an award for “Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Information Technology in State Government” from the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO). The award honored Michigan’s Human Resources Optimization project, which used a shared services model and advanced self-service technology to create multi-million dollar operational cost savings through a joint effort among the state’s departments and agencies.

Michigan’s HR Optimization project was comprised of three components: Web-based self-service tools that enhanced employees’ direct access to the Department of Civil Service’s HR computer system; an “intelligent” knowledgebase that gave employees data customized to their specific employment situation; and a multi-tiered service center was established to offer direct support to employees and to perform routine transactions, which optimized the human resources systems and reduced resource allocations statewide.

“This project is an excellent example of how important it is to have the business and technology areas working together to achieve the same goal. Working collaboratively with our Department of Information Technology, we were successful in streamlining business processes while leveraging technology to fundamentally change the way we deliver HR services,” said Jim Farrell, state personnel director for the State of Michigan and project manager for the HR Optimization Project, in a news release. “We are on track to achieve $28 million in operational savings over five years while increasing efficiencies and maintaining high levels of customer service and satisfaction.”

NASCIO annually recognizes state government IT programs that exemplify best practices, support the public policy goals of state leaders, help government officials perform their duties and provide cost-effective services to citizens. Key criteria for selection include a project’s significance to the operation of government; the benefits realized by service recipients, taxpayers, agency, and state; and return on investment.

Progressive Use of the Web

Michigan makes extensive use of new web-based technologies, offering RSS, podcasts, and blogs on its web site. A recently launched wireless web site is optimized for WAP/wml enabled devices, like PDAs and cellphones.

The Center for Digital Government, the Center for Digital Education, Government Technology magazine and Converge Online gave Michigan’s web site a “Best of the Web 2006” award, “recognizing outstanding contributions at the application and infrastructure level.”

The state has made numerous services available online to residents. Drivers can renew license plates. Travellers can make reservations for a campground at a state park. In addition, each state department offers a variety of resources online, from downloadable forms and helpful information to detailed maps and surveys.

Last week, the State launched a new “SHARE Network” web site, which enhances access to workforce development services in Michigan and provides resources to help customers become self-sufficient. The site features a Resource Directory of services offered by faith-based and community organizations, government agencies, and other non-profit organizations.

Merit Network provides the State of Michigan with a high-speed, fiber-optic connection to the Internet.

More About Michigan

Michigan is the nation’s tenth-largest state with 9.9 million residents and the state’s third-largest employer with 54,000 state employees.

“Michigan” comes from the Indian word “Michigama” meaning great or big lake.

Congress created the Territory of Michigan in 1805. Michigan became the 26th state when President Andrew Jackson signed an act of Congress on January 26, 1837, admitting Michigan into the Union.

The state’s motto is: “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.”

The original territorial capitol in Detroit served as the first state capitol. In 1847 the capital city was moved to Lansing. A white frame building served as the first capitol in Lansing. Today’s capitol at the intersection of Michigan and Capitol avenues in Lansing, designed by Elijah E. Myers, was dedicated on January 1, 1879.