Love new technology? Here’s how to maximize your 2023 IT budget with federal funding
Unlock opportunities for government and education innovation today
Amidst economic pressures facing most industries, tech especially, the federal government has made an unprecedented commitment to fund public infrastructure, including technology projects and initiatives.
With record amounts of federal funds coming into effect this year, as well as funds from previous stimulus programs that haven’t been fully spent, state, local, and tribal governments; educational institutions; healthcare organizations; and other public and non-profit entities now have greater resources at their disposal to improve public infrastructure, support new technologies, enhance cybersecurity systems, strengthen healthcare systems, and invest in digital equity programs.
However, great opportunities come with great challenges, and navigating the complex requirements around this funding can be tricky — especially with varying rules and regulations on how to spend the funds.
If you’re hoping to take advantage of the available government funds to finance your dream IT projects, you must have a clear understanding of the various programs, how they function, and how you can maximize their potential.
How government funding is paving the way for IT
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) is one of the largest investments in modern infrastructure since the Great Depression. It was passed over a year ago, and many grant programs are now coming online to improve highways, bridges, waterways, ports, airports, public utilities, digital equity, cybersecurity, electric vehicle infrastructure, and other public works throughout America.
The IIJA includes $1 billion for state and local cybersecurity grants as well as investments into electric vehicle chargers ($7.5 billion), port infrastructure ($17 billion), airports ($25 billion), bridges ($40 billion), climate resilience ($50 billion), clean drinking water access ($55 billion), broadband access expansion ($65 billion), power infrastructure upgrades ($65 billion) and rail funding ($66 billion).
In addition, the IIJA offers funds for public transit ($89.9 billion) — which includes $39 billion in new investments to modernize transit systems — road and bridge repairs ($110 billion), and other transformational projects.
COVID-19 relief funds are another way to support vital IT projects in 2023. The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) has provided over $1 trillion to aid individuals, businesses, and government entities, with much of it allocated for water and sewer infrastructure, broadband infrastructure, remote workforce, education-related initiatives such as distance learning and hybrid schooling environments, digital equity efforts, and cybersecurity enhancements.
Other programs designed to provide relief include the Elementary & Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) and comparable funding programs for higher education and private K-12 schools, Tribal Consistency Funds, and the Strengthening U.S Public Health Infrastructure, Workforce, and Data Systems grant from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which awarded $3.2 billion in November 2022 through OE22-2203.
The federal government is also looking to create new and streamlined IT standards at the federal level, which will expand grant opportunities and facility standards, and enable greater innovation on digital identity, automation, artificial intelligence (AI), customer experience, and cybersecurity.
Putting the funds to good use
One of the biggest opportunities for organizations receiving new funding is in broadband and digital equity.
With many grants rolling out to address these issues, there is an opportunity to expand access to internet, as well as obtain computers, networking equipment, and other tools to make technology widely available. This can particularly benefit tribal communities and rural America, where connectivity has historically been a challenge, and have a significant impact on education, healthcare (like telemedicine), and government services.
Other areas where federal funding can be used include cybersecurity, infrastructure improvements, and school and public safety.
So, what’s the problem?
Although these funding sources provide a variety of opportunities, there are challenges when it comes to understanding eligible uses and determining which of the many much-needed projects to fund.
Funds from COVID-19 programs like ARPA have been allocated to government agencies and schools. Governments and educators are working tirelessly to identify the best uses of the funding and allocate funds appropriately — 8,825 projects initiated to date with 67% of funds allocated — but the rules and regulations can be difficult to understand. States are also well-positioned to receive allocations from the State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program (SLCGP) fund. However, they must first complete the required cybersecurity plans — more than 75% haven’t done so.
Then there is the impending time crunch. For example, Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) must be obligated by Dec. 31, 2024 and while there is still plenty of ESSER money left on the table, the ESSER II obligation deadline is Sept. 30, 2023, and the ESSER III obligation deadline is Sept. 30, 2024, leaving you with only so much time to take advantage of these funds.
When you factor in the complexity and sheer volume of paperwork associated with each federal assistance program, the process can be overwhelming.
While there may be a lot of money still available, you must make certain it’s used effectively and in accordance with your needs and compliance requirements. This means taking a thoughtful approach and considering long-term sustainability rather than just focusing on short-term needs. And SHI can help.
Cut through the noise with a trusted partner
We have experience working with government agencies at all levels and can serve as a nexus of information to help you stay up to date on the latest developments in grants and federal funding.
SHI’s Public Sector Grants Support Program works with you to find relevant grants and guide you throughout the application process. You’ll receive personalized funding reports and information on available grants as well as help cultivating project ideas and securing funds for technology initiatives during consultation calls.
Our partnership with Grants Office, a nationally recognized firm specializing in helping public sector agencies find funding for technology projects, ensures a seamless process of identifying and coordinating potential grants.
SHI can assist you with understanding the requirements needed for programs such as E-rate, Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program, Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities Program (BRIC), State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program (SLCGP), and Digital Equity Act programs. Additionally, we can provide cybersecurity guidance that is compliant with the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) standards so you’re confident your organization can respond to the ever evolving cyber-threat landscape.
But, what about procurement?
We’ve got you covered there as well.
With over 500 public sector contracts available, SHI can help you identify the most appropriate contracts for your needs. We can help you identify the most cost-effective way to access key technologies, develop a comprehensive procurement plan for IT projects, and get a firm grasp on any associated restrictions, regulations, or compliance requirements.
Concerned about implementation? Don’t be.
SHI is at the forefront of implementing the latest technologies into our customers’ IT environments. This includes artificial intelligence (AI), automated machine learning (AML), and automation tools that can help streamline processes and maximize operational efficiency.
Take advantage of federal funding — and boost your IT today
With the federal government allocations for IT projects in 2023 estimated to be around $134.4 billion, there has never been a better time for public sector organizations to capitalize on available funding sources.
Whether you’re looking to modernize your healthcare system, enhance security initiatives, or improve digital equity programs, or support any number of technology initiatives, SHI can be your trusted partner in the process, ensuring you take full advantage of any available government funds, move closer to getting your dream IT initiatives off the ground, and maximize your investment.
If you’re ready to solve what’s next but budgetary concerns have you in a holding pattern, reach out to Grants@SHI.com. Let’s get your ideas in motion today.