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What is the Opportunity Project?

The Opportunity Project is unleashing the power of data and technology to expand economic opportunity in communities nationwide. Together, we are creating solutions that help families, local leaders, and businesses access information about the resources they need to succeed.

Empowering people with the right solutions


New digital solutions helping families, community leaders, and local officials solve challenges in their everyday lives.

Making government data usable


A curated combination of federal and local data that is easily transformed into meaningful tools.

Working together and facilitating collaboration

Federal and local governments, technologists and advocates are catalyzing new solutions to some of our nation's toughest challenges.

Why is Cisco involved?

The partnership with The Opportunity Project gives Cisco the chance to give back by sponsoring specific projects on which the DevNet community can collaborate. We'll get people signed up and provide project information, collaboration tools and links to data as well as coordinate your contributions.

How you can participate

Engaging hard to count communities in the 2020 Census

Challenge:
Create digital tools that enable hard to count communities to see and experience the value of Census data in order to increase participation in the 2020 Census.

Policy priority:
Every decade, the U.S. Census Bureau conducts the Decennial Census, which is used to apportion representation in the U.S. House of Representatives, electoral college votes, and federal funds for infrastructure and services such as housing, highways, schools, hospitals, and more. It is critical that all those living in the U.S. participate in the 2020 Census so representation and funds can be correctly given to all communities throughout the U.S.

Problem:
Certain segments of the population have been hard to count in the Census at disproportionately high rates. Historically, 18% of the U.S. population goes uncounted due to issues including lack of knowledge about the census and mistrust of the federal government. This results in fewer resources allocated, imprecise policy recommendations, and less congressional representation for those communities. The 2020 Census will be the first to have an online response option, presenting new challenges with those who aren’t digitally connected, but also opening up new opportunities for creative solutions to the undercount challenge.

Explore additional resources

Connecting local leaders with information on federal funding

Challenge:
Create digital tools that help local leaders to visualize, understand information, and access resources on how the Federal government could be a valuable partner in their communities.

Policy priority:
The Office of Management and Budget frequently hears from state, local, tribal governments, nonprofits, and universities, that despite the plethora of public data sets available, it is difficult for them to access intuitive information about what Federal programs, funding opportunities, or current awards in their area might be focused on addressing their most pressing challenges. It can sometimes be difficult to even ascertain what assets in partnership with the Federal government are already in place.

Problem:
Despite an overabundance of information on existing financial assistance opportunities and awards, community leaders, potential applicants, researchers, and Congress continue to express frustration that they cannot easily find the information they need or are interested in. Example scenario: the Mayor of a large city is currently facing a financial crisis and the city has filed for bankruptcy. The city is searching for available federal financial assistance. The mayor is trying to determine what available funds the city has, how those funds are making a difference for the city, or what funds the city could apply for, but is unable to get a complete picture of what funds are available that could be used to provide essential city services.

Explore additional resources

Help youth experiencing homelessness

Challenge:
Create digital tools that help youth experiencing homelessness access the resources they need in a non-stigmatizing way.

Connect homeless veterans with resources

Challenge:
Create digital tools that help homeless veterans connect with transportation, jobs, and other needed services.

by Drew Zachary, Radhika Bhatt, Commerce Data Service | May 18, 2017

Since data.gov launched in 2009, nearly 200,000 data sets have been posted for public use, including data on everything from public safety to affordable housing to weather. Access to that information is relevant to all of our daily lives, but for some people, it could be...

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by Justin Antonipillai 

“Opportunity is missed by most people,” Thomas Edison said, “because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

Little known fact about Edison: Beyond his 1,000-plus inventions...

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Watch The Opportunity Project DevNet Create 2017 keynote

Expanding Economic Opportunity Through Open Data

Two speakers from the US Department of Commerce gave a keynote at the inaugural Cisco DevNet Create conference to engage developers in The Opportunity Project, which brings together technologists, policy leaders, and communities to build digital solutions with federal open data. Watch the keynote to learn more about The Opportunity Project, what has been accomplished so far, what's happening next, and ways you can get involved.