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Self-driving cars show exciting promise to address existing barriers for people with disabilities traveling to and from work—as long as developers incorporate accessibility into these technologies from the start.

Rachel Kerrigan of the Perkins-Business Partnership joined PEAT Talks to discuss how they are helping to bridge the hiring gap for people with disabilities by educating HR professionals online about common barriers to access. 

The annual HR Technology Conference is always an essential event for PEAT, given their focus on technology tools and trends shaping the field of human resources. This year we left feeling more excited and energized than ever, because the topic of accessibility is finally starting to take hold in the hearts and minds of HR Tech stakeholders.

Last month’s M-Enabling Summit brought international leaders together from a range of fields connected to the promotion and advancement of accessible mobile applications—and allowed PEAT to advance key actions related to accessible technology issues impacting employment though a policy roundtable and a panel discussion.

 According to a new survey report by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 84% of organizations are now using social media for recruiting, up from 56% in 2011. These survey results add detail and paint a picture of what has become obvious: more and more, employers are posting job openings and information for job seekers on social media. And when these posts are not accessible, employers may be missing out on top talent. 

One of the great promises of technology is that it can, and should, open the doors for people with disabilities to participate in the workplace by eliminating barriers. But when Deque web accessibility consultant and strategist Denis Boudreau investigated the basic accessibility of five top job hunting sites, the results were grim.

Deputy Secretary of Labor Chris Lu discusses his takeaways from meeting with the great Stevie Wonder and hundreds of other dedicated leading accessibility "stars" at last month's International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference (CSUN). As he notes, "our commitment to accessible technology is about basic civil rights, as well as the collective productivity of America’s workforce...employers, technology vendors and tech users with disabilities must all work together to raise awareness and educate one another about accessible workplace technology issues, most of which can be easily solved."

While new technologies have broken down countless barriers for individuals with disabilities, job hunting online continues to be fraught with accessibility-related obstacles that the general population may not even realize exist.  And as GettingHired's Gabrielle Nagle discusses, inaccessible eRecruiting doesn’t just affect the job seeker, but also the employer.

As businesses compete to attract talented, skilled employees, it’s important to make sure that artificial barriers aren’t blocking their path. In this cautionary tale, Sassy Outwater explains how employers may be missing out on top candidates when their online hiring and recruiting systems aren't accessible.

The terms “accessibility” and “universal design” are often used together these days. But what is actually meant by these two terms?  Sina Bahram, a digital accessibility expert, broke it down for us at our January PEAT Talk.

Online hiring practices have made it increasingly easy to apply for a job—unless you’re a person with a disability, that is. Senior Web Accessibility Consultant Denis Boudreau explores the problem of why the employment rate of Americans with disabilities has continued to drop for the last 25 years, and how web designers and developers hold a key to improving the situation.

For several members of the PEAT team, October was a busy month of travel, talk, and trend spotting as we headed west to attend three conferences: the Coleman Institute on Cognitive Disabilities Annual Conference (October 15); HR Technology Conference and Expo (HR Tech) (October 18-21); and the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP) Access 2015 (October 21-23). All presented valuable opportunities for our team to learn, share knowledge, examine future trends, and identify ways to strengthen PEAT's work.

Next week’s 2015 M-Enabling Summit on June 1-2 will provide a forum for all who create and contribute to the development and implementation of accessible mobile technologies. We hope to see you there! At last year’s event, we were honored to welcome CTIA - The Wireless Association into the PEAT Network as a founding member, and are delighted to feature their guest post this month. CTIA represents the wireless communications industry, and has long provided strong leadership on mobile accessibility issues.

No matter your industry, the technological tools we use to accomplish our work today are more advanced than the tools we used even just a few years ago, and this is especially true for people with disabilities. New technologies are fundamentally changing the workplace, and rapidly evolving technologies and workplace policies both play into a new way of doing business.

PEAT is delighted to be taking part in the 30th Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference (CSUN) in San Diego next week, starting March 2. Known as a forum that showcases cutting edge technology and practical solutions that can be utilized to remove the barriers that prevent the full participation of persons with disabilities in educational, workplace and social settings, this conference is the largest of its kind in the world.

If you‘ll be attending CSUN, we hope you’ll join PEAT for A Fresh Look at Accessibility and Online Job Applications. During this session, Joiwind Ronen and Josh Christianson will share PEAT’s research findings on this critical topic. We’ll be meeting on Friday, March 6, 2015 at 8:00 AM PST in Cortez Hill C, 3rd Floor, Seaport Tower.

If you're an employer about to take a leap into an accessible workplace technology effort, you might be wondering where to begin. It's a question I'm often asked by people who understand the "why" behind accessibility, but who are daunted by the "how." But getting started is actually pretty simple.