On February 18, 2015, Governor Charlie Baker signed Executive Order No. 559 reinforcing the administration’s priority to coordinate and increase diversity and inclusion within state government. The Executive Order elevated the Office of Access and Opportunity (OAO) directly to the Governor’s Office, and created a position of Deputy Chief of Staff for Access and Opportunity. In addition, it establishes a cross-government Steering Committee for Access and Opportunity of key administration leaders.
The Office of Access and Opportunity (OAO) is an executive office within the state of Massachusetts created to increase diversity and inclusion within state government. OAO operates with a focus on maximizing existing resources and offices to increase the employment and involvement of those within the minority, women, disability and veterans communities in state government, while also pursuing new policy goals to increase the equity of minority, women, disabled and veteran-owned small businesses in procurement and provisions of state resources. By working to ensure equal opportunity, the state can maximize the potential of the diverse population of Massachusetts, contributing to the success of the Commonwealth.
The primary objective of the Deputy Chief of Access and Opportunity is to ensure equal opportunity and non-discrimination for all individuals of the Commonwealth, irrespective of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability or veteran’s status. In order to achieve this objective, the Deputy Chief partners with leaders within the state government, including the Human Resources Division, Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity, Office of Supplier Diversity, Office on Disability, Higher Education Department and Labor and Workforce Development to establish best practices and ensure the promotion of improvement and innovation.
“Despite a growing economy across the Commonwealth, it’s clear not all communities are seeing the same degree of benefits and new opportunities. We have room to improve employment and procurement practices that promote diversity and are more inclusive of minorities, women, veterans and individuals with disabilities when doing business with the Commonwealth. Our goal is to help this initiative make more progress by working directly with the Governor’s Office.”
-Governor Charlie Baker
“Small businesses are the backbone of Massachusetts local economies and with the development of the Office of Access and Opportunity in the Governor’s Office, we can further include those owned by our veterans, women, minorities and communities with disabilities. Increasing diversity in our workforce and contracting serves to increase opportunity for every corner and community of Massachusetts.”
-Lt. Governor Karyn Polito