Economic Development Secretary Yvonne Hao discsses the state’s economic development planning process during a meeting of the Local Government Advisory Commission on May 9.

Gov. Maura Healey, Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll and Economic Development Secretary Yvonne Hao kicked off the state’s economic development planning process on May 5 with the first meeting of the Economic Development Planning Council at the State House.

Composed of leaders from a diversity of backgrounds and regions, the 29-member council will hold a series of engagement sessions across the state this spring and summer to gather public input about the state’s economic development needs and opportunities. The council will then craft a strategic plan to guide Massachusetts economic development policy over the next four years. The goal is to submit a plan to the Legislature and the governor by the end of this year.

State law (M.G.L. Ch. 6A, Sec. 16G) requires a new economic development plan to be formulated and signed by the governor within the first year of a new administration. The plan sets long-term goals and measurable benchmarks and defines major economic development initiatives and programs.

“We have assembled this council of leaders from across the business community and representing every region of our state to advise us on how to harness our tremendous human talent and assets to create opportunity across the state,” Healey said.

Driscoll said the council “draws from a diversity of perspectives and backgrounds — from small business owners to global sector leaders hailing from Western Massachusetts to the Cape — to ensure that all voices are included in this process to envision a future economy for all.”

Hao said she looks forward to working with the council “to define the areas of opportunity and growth for our state economy.”

Representing municipalities on the council is Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller, immediate past president of the MMA, and Montague Town Administrator Steven Ellis. (See full list of members.)

Scheduled Regional Engagement Sessions include the following:
• May 19, 2-4 p.m.: Pioneer Valley Regional Session at Springfield College
• May 25, 9-11 a.m.: Southeast Regional Session at Bridgewater State University
• June 12, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.: Greater Boston Regional Session at Roxbury Community College
• June 5, 1-3 p.m.: Northeast Regional Session, North Shore Community College, Lynn
• June 13, noon-2 p.m.: Merrimack Valley Regional Session at Northern Essex Community College
• June 20, 1-3 p.m.: Cape Cod Regional Session at Chatham Community Center

Sessions in MetroWest, Central Massachusetts, and Berkshires regions are to be announced.

Once the economic development plan is completed, the council will submit it to the Legislature, and the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies will hold a public hearing prior to final approval by the governor. The final, approved plan will be published in writing and online by Dec. 31, 2023.