Announcement: The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research has won the California’s Governmental Agency of the Year!

This award honors an outstanding state, county, city agency or department that has demonstrated a remarkable dedication to service. As devoted public servants in the Office of Planning and Research (OPR), Ken Alex and Michael McCormick have transformed how state agencies work with local communities. Eager to bring the climate change agenda to the local level, Ken and Michael partnered with the Local Government Commission (LGC), to first listen to regional voices and understand their technical and capacity gaps. Through this collaborative approach and with knowledge of community needs, they then launched Civic Spark – an AmeriCorps program that places passionate and driven young leaders at the forefront of the climate change agenda. These AmeriCorps members serve in local government agencies across California as boots on the ground to provide essential subject matter expertise on environmental policies and climate action plans. Civic Spark AmeriCorps members operate in eight regions throughout the State of California. Since launching, over 200 Civic Spark AmeriCorps members have provided over 140 public agencies with energy assessments, greenhouse gas inventories, water monitoring and survey reports to name a few. And perhaps most significantly, with their projects, these AmeriCorps members have directly engaged over 15,000 Californians from all walks of life. OPR worked closely with LGC, external partners, and colleagues across local, regional, state and federal agencies to provide a recipe for success. That recipe is utilizing the power of AmeriCorps as a resource for addressing critical needs facing California and building ties with local government to solve regional issues.