Most team members interviewed or surveyed have changed the way they think about their work as a result of their experiences working with cities during the pilot. To varying degrees, they have acquired new skills, new awareness of the city context, and greater ability to collaborate and integrate programs across departments and stakeholders. These changes have resulted in some promising changes in the way team members are approaching their post-pilot work. These promising practices have the potential to affect the way staff across the federal government work with cities, helping federal staff become more attuned to the needs of the cities, listening to their goals, and valuing their perspective and experience. The practices also emphasize the importance of federal employees collaborating to address specific local problems in addition to engaging in broader interagency policy discussions.
To help expand these practices beyond a small number of team members, federal agencies might consider (i) providing on-the-ground experience to federal staff when possible, particularly to those staff whose role in the agency entails working directly with city government or stakeholders, (ii) fostering a culture where cities’ experiences and insights are valued, and (iii) looking for ways to engage and solve problems locally across federal teams, agencies, and departments.