Executive Order S-06-09

by the
Governor of the State of California

WHEREAS Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) Digital Literacy is a defining component of California's competitiveness for a knowledge-based economy and is growing in importance to attract capital investment that will generate higher quality jobs; and

WHEREAS ICT Digital Literacy skills are vital to California's ability to compete successfully in a global information and knowledge economy; and

WHEREAS ICT Digital Literacy is defined as using digital technology, communications tools and/or networks to access, manage, integrate, evaluate, create and communicate information in order to function in a knowledge-based economy and society; and

WHEREAS there is widespread recognition documented in numerous national and international reports by entities such as the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) that ICT Digital Literacy is essential for increasing productivity, improving quality of life, and enhancing global competitiveness; and

WHEREAS even though the first inaugural annual survey by the Public Policy Institute of California in partnership with the California Emerging Technology Fund and ZeroDivide (titled Californians and Information Technology) found that nearly seven in ten Californians and strong majorities across demographic groups believe it is very important to have Internet access, there is a persistent Digital Divide in California as evidenced by the fact that:

  • Less than half of Latinos (48%) have home computers, compared with about 86% for Whites, 84% for Asians, and 79% for Blacks.
  • Only 40% of Latinos have Internet access, and only 34% of Latinos have broadband connections at home, while majorities of other racial or ethnic groups have both Internet access and broadband connections.
  • Only 32% of Californians are very confident about using the Internet.
  • More than 56% of parents indicate that they visit their children's school websites, but only 30% of those with household incomes under $40,000 indicate doing so, as compared to 84% of those with incomes of $80,000 or more.
  • More than 62% of Californians indicate a concern that lower-income areas are less likely than others to have access to broadband Internet technology.
  • There is a disparity among ethnic/racial groups, income levels, and regions when comparing rates of computer ownership, Internet access, and broadband connections at home.
  • A majority of residents express concern that Californians in lower-income areas and rural areas have less access to broadband Internet technology than others.
  • There are indications that since 2000, computer use has grown among whites (79% to 85%) and blacks (76% to 83%), as has Internet use (70% to 81% for whites, 60% to 82% for blacks), but among Latinos, computer use has declined (64% to 58%) and Internet use is unchanged (47% to 48%), while Asians have seen declines in both their use of computers (91% to 81%) and the Internet (84% to 80%).

WHEREAS to ensure continued global competitiveness in today's knowledge-based economy, it is increasingly important for workers to be able to cope with changes in the nature of work, shifts in the labor demand, and changes in required ICT skills for the jobs being generated; and 

WHEREAS at the individual level, the ability to read, write, do math, problem solve, work in a team, think critically and use ICT is essential to education and workforce preparation, employment success, civic participation, health care, and access to entertainment; and

WHEREAS the State of California supports ICT for applications in government, education, workforce, health care, business and other areas; and

WHEREAS it is recognized that all residents must have the opportunity for full participation in the educational, civic, cultural, and economic sectors of California society and must have accessibility to and appropriate skills for fully utilizing government, education, workforce, health care, business, and other services; and

WHEREAS it is an important goal to ensure that California residents are digitally literate, and that they recognize the importance of (1) access to information and communications technologies regardless of income, geographic location or advantage; (2) the provision of ubiquitous broadband service in a competitive marketplace at affordable cost; (3) opportunities for residents to acquire ICT digital literacy skills in order to benefit academically, economically and socially; (4) the development of a California ICT Digital Literacy Policy that declares that all residents of California should be digitally literate; and (5) a seamless continuum of digital literacy competencies with benchmarks, metrics, assessments and certifications endorsed by the State to identify the ICT digital literacy proficiencies of residents, students, and workers; and

WHEREAS a California ICT Digital Literacy Policy would support a framework and continuum of digital literacy skills, benchmarking, and metrics consistent with globally accepted standards, and would ensure accountability for assessing progress and success; and

WHEREAS an ICT Digital Literacy Policy would be consistent with the Administration's goal to strengthen the economy, expand the skilled workforce, and increase competitiveness in sciences, technology, engineering and math industries and careers.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, Governor of the State of California, by virtue of the power and authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the State of California, do hereby order effective immediately:

  1. A California ICT Digital Literacy Leadership Council (Leadership Council) is hereby established.  It shall be chaired by my Chief Information Officer.  Membership on the Leadership Council shall include the Secretary of Education, the Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development, the Secretary of Business, Transportation and Housing, and the Secretary of State and Consumer Affairs. The Leadership Council shall invite the Superintendent of Public Instruction to participate as a member of the Leadership Council.
  1. The Leadership Council shall establish an ICT Digital Literacy Advisory Committee (Advisory Committee).  Membership on the Advisory Committee shall include representatives of entities with an interest in ICT Digital Literacy, such as the California Economic Strategy Panel, California Workforce Investment Board, State Board of Education, California Community Colleges, California State University, University of California, public-purpose private-sector organizations such as the California Emerging Technology Fund, California Business Roundtable, California Chamber of Commerce, American Electronics Association, TechNet, and leaders from the private sector.  The Majority and Minority Leaders of the Senate and Assembly shall be invited to each appoint a Legislator to serve on the Advisory Committee.
  1. The Leadership Council, in consultation with the Advisory Committee, shall develop an ICT Digital Literacy Policy, to ensure that California residents are digitally literate.
  1. The Leadership Council, in consultation with the Advisory Committee, shall also develop a California Action Plan for ICT Digital Literacy (Action Plan).  The Action Plan shall include:

a.    Definition of the basic elements of Digital Literacy.
b.    Description and articulation of a "continuum" of skills required for Digital Literacy.
c.    Strategies and actions for incorporating Digital Literacy into workforce training statewide.
d.    Strategies and actions for incorporating Digital Literacy into K-12 and higher education.
e.    Acceptable frameworks for assessment and certification.
f.     Recommended curricula consistent with the assessment frameworks.
g.    A timeline for implementation of the Action Plan.
h.    Identification of metrics to ascertain the achievement of ICT Digital Literacy.

  1. The Action Plan shall be consistent with the recommendations of the California Broadband Task Force Report - January 2008:  The State of Connectivity Building Innovation Through Broadband.
  1. The California Workforce Investment Board (WIB) shall develop a technology literacy component for its five-year Strategic State Plan to:

a.       Raise the level of Digital Literacy in California by supporting technology training and integrating Digital Literacy skills into workforce development activities.
b.      Expand Career Technical Education (CTE) opportunities and Digital Literacy programs in community colleges.
c.       Build consensus at the State and local community levels by identifying Digital Literacy ecosystems to drive models of excellence, benchmarking, and reliable metrics for measuring success.
d.      Provide workforce examples of skills training and job-placement community-value projects for e-government, e-health or other conveniences.
e.       Engage the ICT industry and entertainment mega-industry along with large employers to promote applications.
f.       Highlight collaborative models in underserved communities and culturally diverse populations.
g.       Build and resource a strong coalition empowered to achieve near-term action and results-oriented outcomes.
h.      Reward success to reinforce best practices, individual champions, economic results, and public awareness and support.

  1. These activities are to be accomplished through realignment of existing personnel and resources without additional state funding.  However, the Leadership Council is authorized to identify and deploy non-state resources that can work in collaboration with State agencies to help build a public-private sector alliance for the purpose of assisting in implementation of the goals of this Executive Order.
  1. The Leadership Council shall submit the Action Plan to me by December 31, 2009 or sooner.
  1. The Leadership Council shall comply with applicable open-meeting laws.

I FURTHER REQUEST that the Legislature and Superintendent of Public Instruction consider adopting similar goals, and that they join the Leadership Council in issuing a "Call to Action" to schools, higher education institutions, employers, workforce training agencies, local governments, community organizations, and civic leaders to advance California as a global leader in ICT Digital Literacy by:

  1. Incorporating ICT Digital Literacy into workforce training programs and curricula.
  2. Supporting and promoting ICT Digital Literacy by encouraging all public agencies to optimize e-government and the availability of public services online.
  3. Requiring employers and employer organizations to identify requisite ICT Digital Literacy skills for 21st century jobs and to articulate appropriate training and assessment standards to local, regional and state agencies responsible for workforce training.
  4. Encouraging public and private sectors to join forces and form public-private partnerships to promote ICT Digital Literacy.

I FURTHER DIRECT that as soon as hereafter possible, this Order be filed in the Office of the Secretary of State and that widespread publicity and notice be given to this Order.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed this 22nd day of May 2009.

Governor of California

Secretary of State