Department of Labor gets a chief innovation officer

The Department of Labor building in Washington, D.C. (NCinDC / Flickr)

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Chike Aguh is the new chief innovation officer of the Department of Labor, a position left vacant during the Trump administration.

Aguh took the job late last month, reporting directly to the deputy secretary. The office sets the department’s research and development agenda for open government, digital products and the introduction of new technologies intended to improve the workforce system, agency customer service and data sharing.

Aguh previously served as the inaugural head of economic mobility pathways at the nonprofit Education Design Lab, where he launched a multimillion-dollar effort to make community colleges avenues to high-growth fields for thousands of students.

“He is a class act, is incredibly well respected and is full of phenomenal ideas that will help propel labor to the next level,” wrote Xavier Hughes, the department’s chief innovation officer under President Barack Obama, on LinkedIn. “I can’t wait to see what you and the new team at Labor will accomplish.”

Aguh also focused on the future of work and racial equity as a technology and human rights fellow at the Harvard Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, as well as workforce technologies at New Markets Venture Partners. He was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations’ Future of Work Taskforce.

Aguh holds degrees from Tufts University, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

“Honored and humbled to be sworn in today as Chief Innovation Officer at the US Dept. of Labor,” Aguh tweeted the day of his appointment. “Eager to get to work on the most important task we have: creating a future of work that includes and dignifies all of us.”

For another top technology job, the department is sticking with Gundeep Ahluwalia as chief information officer — a role he’s held since October 2016.

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Chief Innovation Officer, Chike Aguh, Department of Labor, Xavier Hughes
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