Committee on Technology

March 8, 2024

It’s budget season, and the New York City Council has begun its extensive agency-by-agency review of each mayoral agency’s funding plans and requests for Fiscal Year 2025 in advance of negotiations with the Mayor that typically run through the spring. Each week, NYCETC will share highlights from hearings that might of interest to the workforce development community.

This week, we look at the Committee on Technology, which met on March 8 for testimony from the Office of Technology & Innovation (OTI).

—Overall, OTI’s FY25 budget request is $775.2 million, a modest decrease of $8.4 million from the FY24 adopted budget. The agency is budgeted for a total headcount of 1,504.

—Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Matthew Fraser, who leads OTI, began his testimony by noting that when Mayor Adams took office, the administration merged multiple legacy technology offices—including the Department of Information Technology and
Telecommunications (DoITT), the Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer, NYC Cyber Command, the Mayor’s Office of Information Privacy, and NYC311 among others—into OTI. The benefits of this approach include fully leveraging the City’s
purchasing power to maximize volume discounts for procurements like mobile phone service, helping yield what Fraser claimed are tens of millions of dollars in savings.

—In his remarks, Fraser highlighted OTI’s work toward bridging the digital divide in New York City by expanding Big Apple Connect, a program that provides low- or no-cost broadband access to 330,000 public housing residents across 220 NYCHA sites, as well as the release of the AI Action Plan, a first-of-its-kind document setting out the City’s strategy to utilize artificial intelligence technologies.

—The CTO also highlighted ongoing work on the MyCity portal, an online resource launched last year to help working families check their eligibility, apply for, and track benefits. New Yorkers have created more than 50,000 accounts and submitted 32,000
applications through MyCity, resulting in more than 16,000 children gaining access to subsidies. MyCity incorporates the redesigned JobsNYC website as well as a new site designed to serve businesses, which utilizes the first citywide AI-powered chatbot.

—In largely collegial questioning, Committee Chair Jennifer Gutiérrez (D-Brooklyn) engaged Fraser about Big Apple Connect, contracts for MWBE firms, and OTI’s role in the City’s response to the migrant crisis. One exchange concerned digital literacy and
digital equity, in which Fraser noted the city’s great progress on improving access to technology, adding, “Now we can look at how to get more tools out there and build skills. We’ve been working with [NYC Talent] to determine how to get the skills training
to [New Yorkers] rather than making them travel… It’s a new approach for OTI to embark in this territory. But if you want things you’ve never had, you have to do things you’ve never done.”

—In public testimony following the administration, NYCETC CEO Greg Morris highlighted the vital importance of technology to workforce development, particularly the need to expand access for New Yorkers seeking opportunities for training and employment within the tech sector. In response to a question from Chair Gutiérrez about how OTI should define success in its digital literacy work, Morris raised the question of whether the City was investing sufficient time and resources, including through appropriations, to truly support these activities.


NYCETC’s written testimony for the hearing

Council analysis of OTI FY25 budget

Testimony of OTI CTO Matthew Fraser

Full video of March 8 OTI hearing

2023 NYCETC Conference: Using AI Solutions to Improve Program Outcomes