SC2 teams are a unique way for the federal government to engage with local communities. As team members, federal employees are committed to specific places and encouraged to dig deep into specific local problems, looking for workable strategies and solutions. This focus provides federal staff with the opportunity to work with communities over a period of time. The long-term commitment gives federal employees time to listen; time to build relationships with community members, other agencies, and people within their own agencies; and time to test ideas and refine problem-solving strategies. This in-depth focus allows federal staff to see how local problems and opportunities are interrelated. It also allows them to step out of the confines of their regular jobs and explore how they might think more creatively about the programs and policies they create and administer.
These characteristics of the SC2 model led to three promising practices that can contribute to building a federal workforce more responsive to and effective at addressing community problems:
- Active Problem Solving with City Stakeholders
- Gathering Local Input to Inform Federal Policies
- Interagency Collaboration around Real, Time-Sensitive Local Problems
The following sections describe these practices. Each section begins with a brief discussion of the insights and skills federal employees gained during the pilot. It then discusses how team members used these skills in practice. In the last section, we discuss how the SC2 Council and agency leadership might facilitate other federal employees adopting the practices.