By David Liebler.

Innovation is alive and well in California Counties. That’s a phrase we often use in describing the annual CSAC Challenge Awards. But this year, perhaps a better phrase would be: resiliency is alive and well in California Counties.

California County leaders are continuously adapting to changing conditions, including economic downturns, legislative decisions made at the state level and even natural disasters.

That’s why the theme for this year’s Annual Meeting theme is “Resilient Leadership,” and it’s why the programs being honored in CSAC’s 2018 awards program are the result of county staff finding innovative solutions in order to overcome a plethora of challenges.

The two programs being honored with the California Counties Innovation Award were deemed by our judging panel to be the most creative and effective programs across all entry and population categories. In the wake of the devastating debris flow in January of this year, Santa Barbara County turned to technology and developed a GIS mapping program to aid homeowners in the recovery process.  Faced with a chronic homeless problem, Yuba County spearheaded a collaborative local effort to turn Tuff Sheds into transitional housing and provide on-site services to assist in self-sufficiency. Two completely different issues resulting in two innovative responses that are aiding county residents.

Other award-winning programs find solutions to a wide variety of challenges counties are facing: affordable housing, recidivism, mental illness, health, the changing workplace, and environmental issues to name just a few.

CSAC will now begin the process of going on the road to spotlight the two California Counties Innovation Award and 15 Challenge Award-winning programs. First, we will present the awards at upcoming Board of Supervisors meetings.  This will provide an opportunity for the staff behind the innovative programs to be recognized. Second, we will produce videos and blogs on each of these programs, helping to promote these best practices and recognize those who made them a reality. To take a look at the videos and blogs we created for the 2017 Challenge Award-winning programs, click here.

Our travels will take us throughout the state – from just a few blocks from our offices in Sacramento County to Inyo County on the other side of the Sierra Nevada, from San Diego County in the south to Shasta County in the north. We will travel along the Highway 99 corridor to Madera and Kern Counties, and down I-80 to Alameda County in the Bay Area.

It’s an honor for CSAC staff to be involved celebrating innovation of this caliber. The Challenge Awards have been in existence since the mid-1990s and over that time period, we have had the privilege of recognizing hundreds of best practices. And even more rewarding, we have had the opportunity to go out in the field and see how these programs make a difference first-hand.

Yes, innovation – and resiliency – are alive and well in California’s 58 Counties.

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Originally posted at CSAC.