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Massachusetts Appoints First Chief IT Accessibility Officer

Massachusetts has appointed Ashley Bloom as the state’s new chief IT accessibility officer, a role in which she will be responsible for improving the accessibility of the state’s digital services.

Image depicts web accessibility by showing different things coming out of illustrated computer, including a settings symbol and a non-hearing icon.
The Massachusetts Executive Office of Technology Services and Security (EOTSS) has announced the appointment of Ashley Bloom to the state’s new chief IT accessibility officer (CIAO) position.

Digitization can make government service more equitable, provided that agencies push beyond compliance. One way to ensure this is possible is by designating digital accessibility coordinators, a specific position dedicated to the work.

For Massachusetts, the position was created in July 2023 by way of Executive Order No. 614. The order did several things: it established the position, created the Digital Accessibility and Equity Governance Board — to be chaired by the CIAO — and called for accessibility officers to be appointed to represent each executive office.

Bloom will be responsible for ensuring the state’s digital applications are accessible for all Massachusetts residents. Bloom’s appointment makes her the fourth statewide CIAO in the country, according to the announcement.

Bloom brings to the job more than 20 years of experience advancing digital equity in both the private and public sectors, having most recently built a successful accessibility program at Fidelity Investments.

“This role is especially meaningful for me since working toward accessibility for everyone has been a driving passion of mine as a person with a disability,” Bloom said in the announcement.

Bloom will also serve as the chair of the Digital Accessibility and Equity Governance Board, which was also created by the July 2023 executive order. The board will convene for its second meting on Jan. 24. This will be Bloom’s first meeting as chair. The board will be accepting applications for its public seats soon.

“Technology and the digital user experience will be integral to the future of the services and information state government provides,” said EOTSS Secretary and Commonwealth Chief Information Officer Jason Snyder in the announcement. “With that in mind, we must ensure that we use the workforce, processes and technology at our disposal to expand and facilitate government IT service access for all residents.”

Gov. Maura Healey also stated in the announcement that Bloom will help build on the work already being done by the EOTSS team to make state services more accessible, which includes EOTSS’ multiyear digital road map projects to make the digital future of state services resident-centric.