Executive Order

Executive Order No. 581: Establishing the Commission on Digital Innovation and Lifelong Learning

Date: 04/23/2018
Issuer: Governor Charlie Baker

WHEREAS, it is a priority of this Administration to maximize opportunities for the people of Massachusetts to learn, increase their skills and abilities, secure productive and meaningful employment, and progress in their careers throughout their lives;

WHEREAS, all people in Massachusetts, including adult learners, people who are pursuing education while working, diverse learners, and young people disconnected from traditional education systems need affordable, flexible, high-quality options for higher education and training;

WHEREAS, increased automation and the continued integration of technology into all segments of the Massachusetts economy are changing how many jobs are performed, causing some jobs to disappear, and fostering the creation of new types of jobs, giving rise to the need for more people to engage in lifelong learning;

WHEREAS, Massachusetts’ future economic strength depends on its continued leadership in education, progress in reducing skills gaps, and success in aligning its education and training ecosystems with the needs of the largest and fastest-growing industry sectors in the Commonwealth;

WHEREAS, the expanded use of approaches such as online learning, experiential learning, and career-focused learning may enhance the strength of Massachusetts’ education and training ecosystems even further;

WHEREAS, throughout its history, Massachusetts has been a leader in advancing innovations in education and training that have been emulated throughout the world;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Charles D. Baker, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution, Part 2, c. 2, § I, Art. I, order as follows:

Section 1.  The Commission on Digital Innovation and Lifelong Learning is hereby established to advise the Governor and Lieutenant Governor on issues relating to the future of higher education, workforce development and employability in light of the changing nature of technology, work, and the demography of the Commonwealth.  The Commission shall examine innovations related to the structure and content of higher education and training and recommend affordable, effective approaches to increase the education, skills, and employability of the people of Massachusetts throughout their lives.

Section 2.  The Commission shall consist of up to twenty-one (21) members, including but not limited to a Chair, Vice Chair, members representing the higher education, employer, workforce development, technology, and research communities, and, serving in their ex officio capacity, the Secretaries of the Executive Offices of Education, Labor and Workforce Development, and Housing and Economic Development, or their designees.  The president of the Commonwealth Corporation shall serve as Chair of the Commission.  Each member, including the Chair, shall be appointed by the Governor and shall serve at his pleasure, without compensation, in an advisory capacity until the expiration of this Executive Order pursuant to Section 6.

Section 3.  The Commission shall review and assess the educational, skill development, and lifelong learning needs of the people of Massachusetts and make recommendations to the Governor and Lieutenant Governor, with a particular focus on how to meet such needs affordably, with high quality, using digital formats or models that are closely connected to the needs of the Massachusetts economy and its future development.

            To achieve this objective, the Commission’s members shall first identify up to five themes to be addressed by the Commission during its operation. Such topics could include, for purposes of example only, online and competency-based approaches to education and training, experiential and job-embedded learning models, new types of education and training programs and credentials, responses to the impact of automation, artificial intelligence and other forms of technology on jobs and the economy of Massachusetts, and the particular needs of adult learners, diverse learners, and opportunity youth.  The work of the Commission shall culminate with the submission of the report required in Section 4 below.

The Commonwealth Corporation will provide staffing to support the work of the Commission, and may ask the executive office secretariats to supply data, reports and other relevant information and assistance.  

Section 4.  The Commission shall meet no fewer than four times at the direction of the Chair, including at a meeting with the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor. The Commission shall submit a formal written report by October 31, 2018 to the Governor and Lieutenant Governor, summarizing the Commission’s work, methodology, findings and recommendations on each of its priorities pursuant to Sections 1 and 3 above, and providing metrics to measure the effect of such recommendations, if implemented, on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and its people.

Section 5.  The Chair, as needed, may establish subcommittees comprised of members of the Commission and non-members drawn from various groups and organizations committed to issues that are relevant to the purposes of the Commission, or who possess expertise necessary to accomplish the purposes of this Executive Order. All subcommittees shall be chaired by a member of the Commission designated by the Chair.  Subcommittees shall meet from time to time, as scheduled by the Chair or the Chair’s designee. 

Section 6.  This Executive Order shall take effect upon execution and shall continue in effect until December 31, 2018.

Given at the Executive Chamber in Boston this 23rdday of April in the year of our Lord two thousand eighteen and of the Independence of the United States of America two hundred forty-one.

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