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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.

On February 27, 2015, the U.S. Access Board published a proposed update to the rules implementing Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, which outlines the federal standards and guidelines for making information and communications technology (ICT) accessible to people with disabilities. The public has until May 28, 2015 to submit comments on the changes. 

To read the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, submit comments, or review the comments others are submitting, go to www.regulations.gov and enter “Section 508” in the search box.

Here are the top 6 questions PEATworks readers are asking about the proposed changes:

View an archived walkthrough of TechCheck. Geared toward employers, this free, interactive tool helps organizations evaluate their accessible workplace technology efforts and find tools to develop them further.

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.

Newly founded last year, the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP) already has 1,700 members in 50 countries. The mission of the organization is to define, promote, and improve the accessibility profession globally through networking, education, and certification in order to enable the creation of accessible products, contents, and services. PEAT recently had a conversation with IAAP’s board president, Rob Sinclair, who also has a little day job as Microsoft’s Chief Accessibility Officer, and Chris Peck, IAAP Chief Executive Officer, to find out how they are tackling such a global endeavor.

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.

Jamal Mazrui has both a professional and personal connection to accessible technology. He's the deputy director of the Accessibility and Innovation Initiative (A&I Initiative) at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the independent agency of the U.S. government that regulates interstate communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable. Jamal is also blind, and a developer and user of technology inside and outside the workplace. PEAT recently spoke with Mazrui about his work and his own personal experiences with workplace technology.

Live recording of the webinar "Expanding What it Means to Be Accessible: Addressing the Workplace Technology Needs of Users with Cognitive Disabilities." The webinar was recorded on Thursday, December 11, 2014.