Labor's IT work praised, funded

The Labor Department got one of the bigger boosts in information technology spending under President Bush's plan for fiscal 2003.

Although the administration seeks $56.5 billion for Labor — a 4.9 percent decrease — it earmarked $497.1 million for IT spending, a 26.5 percent increase.

Big winners are security and privacy initiatives with $19.7 million — a 55 percent increase — and enterprise architecture with $50.2 million — a 51 percent increase.

The proposal also provides a first-time allocation of $57 million to make Labor's one-stop career centers digital.

The increases come without surprise for an agency recognized as a leader in IT "built on a strong enterprise architecture and planning process," according to administration findings.

Labor "is the only federal agency with departmentwide IT financing to ensure that its investments are cost-effective and serve the entire organization mission," the administration states in its funding request. Labor "has used IT to serve citizens better."

Efforts hailed by the administration include taking health and safety complaints via the Internet, using the Web to find lost pensions and enabling people to approximate their retirement benefits online in a pilot program.

In 2003, the agency will expand opportunities for filing documents electronically and will continue to lead a governmentwide project to put eligibility assistance online, improving access to benefits and services information.

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