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WHEREAS, within the Commonwealth there are populations—including African Americans, Hispanic or Latino Americans, persons with disabilities and recently returned veterans—that have experienced chronically high rates of unemployment which exceed the national average rate of unemployment;
WHEREAS, as of December 2014, these groups continued to experience higher than average rates of unemployment — ranging from 7% to 12% — both nationally and in Massachusetts as compared to the overall national average rate of 6.2% and the Massachusetts average rate of 5.8% as reported by the United States Department of Labor;
WHEREAS, Massachusetts’ current workforce development system and policies may not adequately meet the needs of these populations;
WHEREAS, there is a clear link among access to meaningful employment, individual well-being, and community well-being;
WHEREAS, increasing access to meaningful employment begins with increasing and improving access to workforce development and training for those who have experienced and continue to experience higher rates of unemployment; and
WHEREAS, programs and policies tailored to such populations could increase access to employment opportunities;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Charles D. Baker, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution as Supreme Executive Magistrate, Part 2, c. 2, § 1, Art. 1, do hereby order as follows:
Section 1. There is hereby established a Task Force on Economic Opportunity for Populations Facing Chronically High Rates of Unemployment (the “Task Force”), which shall advise the Governor, and is mandated to develop strategies to improve economic opportunities for populations that face higher hurdles to full participation in the workforce.
Section 2. The membership of the Task Force shall consist of the following:
The Secretaries may select designees involved in implementation to participate in the meetings and work of the Task Force.
Section 3. The Secretary of the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development has identified African Americans, Hispanic or Latino Americans, persons with disabilities, and recently returned veterans as populations facing chronically high rates of unemployment. These populations, along with any other populations similarly facing chronically higher rates of unemployment shall constitute the “Target Populations” for the Task Force. The Task Force shall have the following charge:
Section 4. The Task Force shall meet as frequently as necessary to complete its charge. The Task Force is empowered to hold public meetings, fact-finding hearings and other public forums to solicit feedback from community-based organizations, community groups, business leaders, local officials and other interested persons. The Task Force shall consider information received from these sources in the development of its policy recommendations.
Section 5. The Task Force shall terminate thirty days after presenting its Strategic Plan.
Given at the Executive Chamber in Boston this twelfth day of March in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen and of the Independence of the United States of America two hundred thirty-nine.