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The March 2014 update to Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act provides federal contractors with clear guidelines and goals for measuring the success of their efforts to meet these requirements to actively recruit, retain, and advance qualified individuals with disabilities.

Technology is essential to applying for a job, getting a job, and doing a job. And as long as it's accessible, it can be a great equalizer in ensuring that people with disabilities can obtain, retain, and advance in employment. To optimize their potential, individuals with disabilities should have a basic understanding of what accessible workplace technology is—and use this knowledge to assess and meet their own needs.

Once an organization—whether a tech provider or an employer in any industry seeking to create a more disability-inclusive workplace—has initiated an accessibility initiative, how will it know if it’s making progress? As with all corporate initiatives, goals must be established and mechanisms put in place to track progress—the results of which must then be reported to management on an ongoing basis.

One of PEAT's primary goals is to help employers understand how to ensure their information and communications (ICT) technology infrastructure is accessible to all employees—and the strong business case for doing so. Once your company commits to increasing the accessibility of its workplace technology, it is smart to communicate that commitment, both internally and externally.

PEAT's Social Media User Agreement governs all official PEAT accounts on social media platforms and websites, including, but not limited to, social networking pages, blogs, and file-sharing sites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn). Please read this Agreement carefully. Your participation on any of PEAT's social media accounts constitutes your agreement to comply with these rules and any future revisions.

People at all levels of a company can demonstrate leadership and shape their current or future workplace. Here are some of PEAT's ideas about how you can advocate for accessible technology at work.

Oracle's Peter Wallack recently spoke with PEAT about his company's expressed commitment to developing and promoting accessible technology, particularly as it relates to employment.

As a technology provider, or a company's internal technology developer, you should understand how accessible your products are. The key is a good testing process. Such a process, including accurate and comprehensive reporting on testing results, can improve communication with employees, customers, and other end users about your company's commitment to accessibility and foster a culture of continuous improvement.

If you're a technology provider, an established accessibility initiative will help ensure that the information and communications technology (ICT) you build and implement is accessible to all workers, job candidates, and customers. To be sustainable, however, your initiative should be guided by formal policies that have both clout and clarity. 

When it comes to building technology products, it pays to incorporate accessibility right from the start—on multiple levels. To help your organization realize the many benefits of accessible design, here are PEAT's top tips for factoring accessibility into the entire product development lifecycle.