Massachusetts Creates Chief IT Accessibility Officer Position to Enhance Digital Access for All Citizens

Gov. Maura Healey (center left), Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll (center right), Secretary of Technology Services and Security Jason Snyder (center rear) and representatives of the disability community gather on the 33rd anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to sign Executive Order No. 614, creating the Digital Accessibility and Equity Governance Board to strengthen and advance digital accessibility and equity within the state, at the Statehouse on July 26, 2023.

Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey recently announced the establishment of a new position called the chief IT accessibility officer through an executive order during a reception commemorating Disability Pride Month. The order, Executive Order No. 614, serves three main purposes: creating the accessibility officer position, establishing the Digital Accessibility and Equity Governance Board, and appointing accessibility officers to represent each executive office. The state is encouraging applicants for this position and aims to ensure consistent digital accessibility for all citizens, recognizing that when services are built to accommodate diverse needs, everyone benefits.

The accessibility officer will be responsible for coordinating efforts to make all state websites accessible, addressing previous inconsistencies in digital services that resulted in varied user experiences. The focus on digital accessibility is crucial as more state business moves online. The state also plans to launch a public-facing dashboard for transparency and accountability. The Office on Disability has been collaborating with the Executive Office of Technology Services and Security (EOTSS) since 2021, and this executive order will enhance their partnership to improve digital access.

The new position aims to align with federal efforts to improve web and mobile access for people with disabilities, and Senator Ed Markey also reintroduced legislation to update accessibility regulations in response to advancing technologies. The state hopes to conduct the first meeting of the Digital Accessibility and Equity Governance Board in August or September 2023, depending on the hiring timeline for the accessibility officer position.

Source: Government Technology

This blog was written mostly using chatGPT, a potential tool for increased accessibility. Do you think this is an appropriate use of chatGPT? Why or why not? Let me know!

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