Digital Innovation and Lifelong Learning

Digital Innovation and Lifelong Learning PILOTS

In June 2019, CommCorp released a Request for Qualifications for digitally enhanced, competency-based training for incumbent health care workers. The RFQ sought pioneering healthcare employers, colleges, universities, training providers, and members of the workforce development community to begin launching a Massachusetts “ecosystem of lifelong learning” by participating in new Digital Innovation and Lifelong Learning (DILL) Pilots. The goal of the pilots is to leverage digital learning to upskill employees in order to increase her economic opportunity while addressing the critical workforce shortage in health care.

With the support of the Strada Education Network and the Senator Kenneth J. Donnelly Success Grants funded through the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund, an initiative of the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, three partnerships, each of which includes employers and higher education institutions/training organizations, will each receive up to $200,000 through 2-year grants to develop and subsequently implement new digital or hybrid competency-based programs for entry-level incumbent health care workers, where data from the Commonwealth’s Regional Skills Blueprint indicate large skills gaps for further advancement and economic mobility amidst strong future job growth.

Grant awards will be made in early 2020.

The Governor’s Commission

Click here for the Commission’s final report.

Governor Charlie Baker designated Commonwealth Corporation to organize and lead his Commission on Digital Innovation and Lifelong Learning. Building on the approaches highlighted in Governor Baker’s November 2017 convening at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Governor’s Commission examined how Massachusetts can dramatically expand affordable, high-quality, employer-aligned education, training, and lifelong learning opportunities in this era of accelerating technological change. The Commission’s final report to the Governor recommend new, digitally-enabled steps to dramatically increase the availability of those opportunities.

Specifically, the Commission focused on:

  • Online and competency-based approaches to education and training;
  • Programs that are co-designed by employers and education/training providers;
  • Experiential learning models, such as co-ops, internships, apprenticeships, and job-embedded learning;
  • Systems of support for adult and other learners, such as soft skills development programs and coaching;
  • Systems that enable learners to receive credit for prior learning acquired in education, training, and work.

The Commission aimed to recommend ideas and approaches that will:

  • Enable Massachusetts to educate and train a much larger population of learners, especially adult workers and learners who have not prospered in traditional education and training;
  • Meet the needs of employers who struggle to find qualified candidates for entry-level and middle-skill jobs;
  • Respond to the impact of automation and technology on jobs and the economy of Massachusetts;
  • Provide the basis for what an organized system of lifelong learning might look like.

Click here for the press release.
Click here for the Executive Order.

Commission Members

The Commission comprised executives from some of Massachusetts’ largest companies, college and university presidents, community and workforce system leaders, innovators in digital learning, and leading scholars of learning science, organizations, and the future of education and work. The commission was supported by a project team at Commonwealth Corporation and a team affiliated with the Harvard Business School Forum for Growth and Innovation.

J.D. LaRock
Commission Chair
President and CEO
Commonwealth Corporation
Michael Horn
Co-Founder and Distinguished Fellow
Christensen Institute
Christina Royal
Holyoke Community College
Chris Gabrieli
Commission Vice Chair
Massachusetts Board of Higher Education
Don Kilburn
Chief Executive Officer
UMass Online
Sanjay Sarma
Vice President for Open Learning
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Linda Boff
Chief Learning Officer
General Electric
Laurie Leshin
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Mary Sarris
Executive Director
North Shore Workforce Investment Board
Susan Cicco
Chief Human Resources and Communications Officer
Michael London
CEO and President
Michelle R. Weise
Senior Vice President for Workforce Strategies and Chief Innovation Officer
Strada Education Network
Jennifer Davis Carey
Executive Director
Worcester Education Collaborative
Patricia Meservey
President Emerita
Salem State University
Rosalin Acosta
Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development
Ex officio
Joanna Dowling
Custom Group/Center for Manufacturing Technology
Oz Mondejar
Senior Vice President for Mission and Advocacy
Partners Continuing Care, Inc.
Jay Ash
Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development
Ex officio
Jean Eddy
Chief Executive Officer
American Student Assistance
Reinier Moquete
Chief Executive Officer
Advoqt Technology Group/Latino STEM Alliance
Jim Peyser
Executive Office of Education
Ex officio
Joseph Fuller
Professor of Management Practice in General Management
Harvard Business School
Marjorie Ringrose
Senior Program Officer
Smith Family Foundation
Carlos Santiago
Massachusetts Department of Higher Education
Ex officio

Click here for Commission Member bios

Upcoming Meeting Announcement and minutes

Audio from fifth Commission Meeting, 10/30/18
Minutes from fifth Commission Meeting, 10/30/18

Audio from fourth Commission Meeting, 9/25/18
Minutes from fourth Commission Meeting, 9/25/18
Materials from fourth Commission Meeting, 9/25/18

Materials from Tuesday, August 28, 2018 Committee Meetings
Committee Notes from August 28 Meetings

Materials from Tuesday, July 31, 2018 Committee Meetings
Lifelong Learning Platform White Paper – July 2018
Committee Notes from July 31 Meetings

Audio from third Commission Meeting, 6/26/18
Materials from third Commission Meeting, 6/26/18
UMassOnline and edX Presentations Recording, 6/26/18
Western Governors University and Duet Presentations Recording, 6/26/18

Audio from second Commission Meeting, 5/22/18
Minutes from second Commission Meeting, 5/22/18
Materials from second Commission Meeting, 5/22/18

Audio from first Commission Meeting, 4/23/18
Minutes from first Commission meeting, 4/23/18
Materials from first Commission meeting, 4/23/18

Background on Digital Innovation and Lifelong Learning Strategies

Competency-Based Education

Competency-Based Degree Programs in the U.S.
Meeting Students Where They Are: Profiles of Students in Competency-Based Degree Programs
Putting Students First: The Case for Competency-Based Education
How Competency Based Education May Help Reduce Our Nation’s Toughest Inequities

Employer Partnerships

A Resource Guide to Engaging Employers
Building Effective Employer Relations
Courses to Employment: Partnering to Create Paths to Education and Careers
Strategic Employer Engagement: Building Dynamic Relationships with Employers in Teen and Young Adult Employment Programs
Hire Education: Mastery, modularization, and the workforce revolution
Bridge the Gap: Rebuilding America’s Middle Skills

Experiential Learning

7-Principles of Effective Work-Based Learning
Making Work-Based Learning Work
Work-Based Learning Policy for Out-of-School Youth and Disadvantaged Adults, National Skills Coalition

Noncognitive Skill/”Soft Skills” Development

Seven Facts on Noncognitive Skills from Educations to the Labor Market

Prior Learning Assessment

State Policy Approaches to Support Prior Learning Assessment
State System PLA Adoption: Lessons from a Three-System Initiative

Student Support Services

Helping Adult Learners Navigate Community College and the Labor Market
Implementing Holistic Student Support: A Practitioner’s Guide to Key Structures and Processes
Show me the Way: The Power of Advising in Community Colleges

Program Profiles

See below for education and training organizations currently applying the above strategies.

Cell-Ed – Adult Basic Education via Smartphone
Colorado State University Global Campus – An Online College Degree
Excelsior College
Guttman Community College (CUNY) – Degree Programs that Emphasize Student Support and Experiential Learning
Massachusetts Community Colleges Career GPS – Student Pathways Website for Applicants to Community Colleges in MA
Massachusetts Community Colleges MyExperienceCounts – Website that Supports Credit for Prior Learning through Prior Learning Assessment
Northern Essex Community College – Competency-Based Education Courses in Early Childhood Education
Southern New Hampshire University, College for America, and Partners Health Care
Southern New Hampshire University and College for America
UMass University Without Walls 
UW Flexible Option, University of Wisconsin System
Western Governor’s University

Reports on the Future of Work, Learning, and Credentials

Robot-Proof: How Colleges Can Keep People Relevant in the Workplace
Jobs Lost, Jobs Gained: Workforce Transitions in a Time of Automation, McKinsey Global Institute
The Future of Skills, Pearson
The Future of Employment: How Susceptible are Jobs to Computerisation?
Powering Greater Boston’s Economy: Why the Latino Community is Critical to our Shared Future
The Future of Undergraduate Education, American Academy of Arts & Sciences
Good Jobs that Pay Without a BA
The Narrow Ladder: The Value of Industry Certifications in the Job Market, Burning Glass Technologies
Strada-Gallup Education Consumer Insights
Understanding the New College Majority, Institute for Women’s Policy Research
Aligning Post-Secondary Education with Real Life for Adult Student Success, American Council on Education
The Future of Work on the North Shore
The Massachusetts Student Financial Aid Study, Prof. Bridget Terry Long, Ph.D., Monnica Chan, Ph.D. Candidate
Here’s How ‘Renewable Learning Funds’ Can Transform Workforce Development, Forbes
Profiling The Rise Of Income Share Agreements In Higher Ed, Forbes
Taming The Wild West Of Digital Badges And Credentials, Forbes
Learning for Life and Work: Report of the Commission on Higher Education & Employability
Blurring Lines: How Business and Technology Skills Are Merging to Create High Opportunity Hybrid Jobs