April 28, 2011 -- Westchester County has been named a Laureate in the 2011 Computerworld Honors Program for its innovative programs that “promote and advance public welfare, benefit society and change the world for the better.”

 The Computerworld Honors recognize individuals and organizations that use information technology to promote positive social, economic and educational change. The county programs highlighted are the Special Needs Registry, REACH Westchester and the Inmate Mental Health Data Exchange System. 

“The fact that Westchester County is being acknowledged publicly for its innovative use of technology is certainly an honor, and we are proud to be held up as an example of government efficiency,” said County Executive Robert P. Astorino. “Every one of the projects shows the importance of collaboration and has allowed us to be more efficient with staff time, improve the way we deliver services, and reduce costs.”

Marguerite Beirne, the county’s chief information officer, noted that more than 1,000 nominations were submitted in the competition hosted by the global information technology publication, and only 254 of those (from 23 countries) were recognized as Laureates.

 “This is a very competitive program that attracts submissions from all over the world, and the fact that Westchester made it into the finals says a lot about the creativity of county departments and the expertise of our Department of Information Technology staff,” Beirne said.

The three programs are:

  • REACH Westchester. This automated application system in partnership with the Department of Social Services allows Temporary Assistance recipients to complete their recertification interview online through an in-office kiosk or a web-based application. The step-by-step process makes it easier for the recipient and will save the county more than $2 million a year.
  • Special Needs Registry. This application, created with the Department of Emergency Services, helps the county maintain a registry of disabled persons who would need assistance during an evacuation or other emergency. The information is used by local, county, state and federal agencies for emergency planning and emergency response efforts.
  • Inmate Mental Health Data Exchange System.  This web-based system helps Department of Correction and Department of Community Mental Health staff as they assess the health of Westchester’s prison population and deliver mental health and housing services both during and after incarceration. 

 “The number and quality of nominations this year were very inspiring and demonstrate how valuable IT is to community change,” said John Amato, publisher of Computerworld. “Computerworld is very proud to name the 2011 class of Laureates and showcase their initiatives benefiting society through innovative uses of IT.”

The annual Computerworld Honors award program honors visionary applications of information technology in categories from academia to agriculture that promote and advance public welfare, benefit society and change the world for the better.

The awards will be presented at the Annual Laureates Medal Ceremony & Gala Awards on June 20, 2011 at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. Five Laureates in each of the 11 categories will be named as finalists for a 21st Century Achievement Award.