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Governor Baker swears in group to help build online learning for in-demand fields



BOSTON Governor Charlie Baker today swore in members of his new Commission on Digital Innovation and Lifelong Learning, a group charged with developing recommendations to expand online learning opportunities for Massachusetts residents seeking skills for in-demand fields.


Governor Baker announced the new Commission last fall during the “Governor’s Online Digital Learning Summit,” which brought together businesses and higher education institutions to announce new partnerships around online and competency-based learning. The event was held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


The Governor’s Commission on Digital Innovation and Lifelong Learning is a 20-member board — made up of employers, higher education leaders, online education providers and entrepreneurs — brought together to find ways the state can partner with industry and higher education institutions to make post-secondary learning opportunities accessible and affordable, especially for disconnected youth and adult learners. The commission will look at replicating promising practices, such as competency-based education, prior learning assessments, stackable credentials and customized employer-higher education training partnerships.


“This Commission is charged with finding more opportunities for the Commonwealth to expand online learning and competency-based curriculums, so that Massachusetts continues to be a national leader in transforming education,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “This diverse group of professionals will aim to find better, more affordable ways for people of all ages to get the skills, training and experience they need to find good-paying jobs in our state.”


“This new Digital Learning Commission will provide opportunities that increase access to more affordable higher education degrees and professional certificates,” Lt. Governor Karyn Polito said. “We appreciate the work this Commission will do to help address the varied and changing needs of students and employers.”


“For many disconnected youth and adult learners their needs are not being met by the traditional higher education model. Their lives, jobs, families, make it impossible to attend classes full-time on a college campus,” Education Secretary James Peyser said. “Online and competency-based education promises to serve students who aren’t being well-served today by changing the delivery model.”


The Commission is being organized and led by Commonwealth Corporation, Massachusetts’ public-private corporation that focuses on workforce, youth, and economic development and executes workforce programs in partnership with businesses and educators.


“Employers are clear: the biggest impediment they have to expanding their businesses is finding the talent they need to fill the jobs they have,” said Commission Chair J.D. LaRock. “Our Commission will be laser-focused on expanding innovative education and training options that get Massachusetts residents into those jobs quickly, effectively, and affordably.”

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