New York State has put out a call for volunteers with technology expertise to create “technology SWAT teams” to boost the state’s response to COVID-19.
The official site for the COVID-19 Technology SWAT Team, as it’s called, is light on details but broad in scope. The state seeks volunteers with a wide range of tech skills: “professionals with experience in product management, software development / engineering, hardware deployment and end-user support, data science, operations management, design, or other similar areas.”
While individuals can and are encouraged to volunteer, the state explicitly asks for “teams or cohorts of individuals from a single institution.” And while the state accepts remote volunteers from any timezone, it prefers those in the Eastern and Central U.S. timezones, with top preference given to those who can work locally. A minimum of 90 days’ commitment is required.
According to the sign-up form, volunteers can list one of four areas of focus: application/web development, data science and analytics, multimedia (or “digital content strategy”), and end-user support. Volunteers can indicate whether they want to provide full-time technical aid, build external platforms that will be provided without charge, provide free hardware or software, or provide some other kind of service.
New York State has been the epicenter of COVID-19 infections in the United States. As of March 25, 2020, the state had 30,811 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with thousands added daily over the past week. Calls have already been put out for health and mental health volunteers, with 40,000 people already enlisted according to state officials.