A&F has worked to advance the goal of equity by supporting the Governor's agenda to achieve nondiscrimination, equal opportunity and diversity through the work its Office of Access and Opportunity. In 2008, the Access and Opportunity effort was launched; in 2010, Governor Patrick issued Executive Order 519 to formally establish the Office of Access and Opportunity. The Office of Access and Opportunity reflects the priority the Governor and A&F places on identifying, understanding, and acting upon structural impediments, which inhibit the equitable inclusion of all individuals within the fabric of the state's social and economic mainstream. In sum, Access and Opportunities is about opening doors and removing barriers. Some selected accomplishments of the Office of Access and Opportunity include:
- Administrative Bulletin #14:
This Administrative Bulletin established women and minority workforce participation goals on public construction projects.
- Administrative Bulletin #15:
This Administrative Bulletin established the Civil Rights Impact Analysis (“CRIA”) policy and process, which require executive branch agencies to undertake an analysis to identify whether implementation of proposed regulations are likely result in disparate impact on members of protected classes.
- Administrative Bulletin #16:
This Administrative Bulletin established Language Access Guidelines for executive branch agencies. The Guidelines require executive branch agencies to develop Language Access Plans, which define how they will take steps to ensure meaningful access to state services, programs and activities on the part of Limited English Proficient individuals.
- Administrative Bulletin #17:
This Administrative Bulletin established a public construction data reporting regimen. Executive branch agencies that undertake public construction projects must produce a quarterly report, which identifies minority business enterprise and women business enterprise participation on each public construction project. The regimen also requires a quarterly report on the level of participation as labor of women and minorities on the same public construction projects. The Office of Access and Opportunity will post these quarterly reports, in an aggregated manner, on the state’s transparency website.
- Administrative Bulletin #18:
This Administrative Bulletin established minority business enterprise and women business enterprise participation goals on public construction projects that are assigned by the Division of Capital Asset Management to the sponsoring agency. This Bulletin fills a gap that existed in state minority business enterprise/women business enterprise participation goals.
- Administrative Bulletin #19:
This Administrative Bulletin brought forward a comprehensive executive branch process to work to ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended. The Bulletin also creates a direct operational link between ADA compliance activities and the state’s capital planning, budgeting and implementation processes.
- ANF Administrative Bulletin #20 Reasonable Accommodations Capital Reserve Account:
This Administrative Bulletin created the Reasonable Accommodations Capital Reserve Account (“RACRA”), which is a central pool that functions as a backstop mechanism to fund the provision of reasonable accommodations to executive branch employees.
- Commonwealth as a Model Employer of Persons with a Disability:
The Office of Access and Opportunity worked with the Human Resources Division, the Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity, the Massachusetts Office on Disability and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services to develop a strategic plan to make the Commonwealth a Model Employer.
- IT Accessibility Roadmap:
In 2011, the Office of Access and Opportunity convened a working group consisting of representatives of the Information Technology Division and the Massachusetts Office on Disability for the purposes of reviewing the 2006 Memorandum of Understanding and developing a roadmap to achieve enhanced accessibility in information technology deployment and utilization. The IT Accessibility Roadmap, a blueprint for enhancing accessibility vis-à-vis information technology, is the culmination of the efforts.
- Commonwealth Diversity Fellows Program:
The Office of Access and Opportunity developed the concept for this Program. OAO has partnered with the Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity, the University of Massachusetts Boston and the Commonwealth Compact to implement the Fellows Program, which is a structured, semester-long, internship that is designed to give college students exposure to the executive branch. The Fellows Program is loosely modeled after the White House Fellows Program with a targeted focus on diversity.