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Join key subject matter experts and thought leaders nationwide to share good ideas and best practices for improving accessible technology in the workplace.

This article explores tips for communicating about accessibility–clearly, directly, and throughout the technology development lifecycle.

This article provides tips on accessible technology training—from basic disability awareness for all employees, to highly specialized technical training for software and application developers. 

Robert "Bobby" Silverstein, one of the behind-the-scenes architects of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), reflects upon how the ADA is now increasingly playing a critical role in ensuring equal employment opportunities for people with disabilities by ensuring the accessibility of information and communication technologies (ICT).

Live recording of a discussion with Adam Streets about GettingHired (link is external)’s accessible platform for job seekers, and the feedback the company has received from job seekers on the application process.

Lainey Feingold is a nationally-recognized disability rights lawyer known for negotiating landmark accessibility agreements and pioneering the collaborative advocacy and dispute resolution method known as “Structured Negotiations.” PEAT recently spoke with Feingold about her work around digital accessibility and its impact on the employment of people with disabilities.

"Bring Your Own Device" (BYOD) is an increasingly popular policy and practice in workplaces today. In this recorded webinar, Dana Marlowe, Accessibility Partners LLC (link is external), discusses the accessibility advantages BYOD can offer for both employers and technology users.

 

Social media is a key tool for employers today to attract talent and promote their brand. In this live recording, founder Dennis Lembree discusses the inclusive Twitter application Easy Chirp (link is external), which provides the ability to "tweet" accessible images. This innovation has won several awards, including the 2014 FCC Chairman’s Award for the Advancement in Accessibility.

Live recording of the PEAT Talk with Neil Giacobbi, Executive Director of Public Affairs at AT&T held on June 18, 2015. Giacobbi spoke about the AT&T NYU Connect Ability Challenge, a three-month global software development competition designed to create new innovations that improve the lives of people living with disabilities.

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.

Job-hunting isn’t what it used to be! Back when I started out in the workforce, looking for a job meant picking up the phone to ask about job openings, and mailing (yes, snail mailing, with a stamp) paper copies of my resume and cover letter. But times have certainly changed.

Today, everything seems to be happening online. Most people find and apply for job openings online. Some companies even conduct pre-employment assessments on the web and remote interviews before they ever meet a job candidate in person—if they do at all.

Years ago, I was issued a compelling challenge by my friend and colleague, Dr. David Braddock, executive director of the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities. He asked me to consider examining the right to web access for people with cognitive disabilities—and I was intrigued.

IBM is a global technology and consulting company headquartered in Armonk, New York. With operations in more than 170 countries, the company develops and sells software and systems hardware and a broad range of infrastructure, cloud, and consulting services.

IBM has also been a leader in the accessible technology arena for more than 100 years, and in July 2014, it appointed Frances West as the company's first chief accessibility officer. PEAT recently talked with West about her new role and IBM's approach to accessibility.

CLOSED: Tell us about your experiences!  PEAT is conducting a national survey about online job applications. This initiative will help us to better understand and document accessibility needs related to online job seeking and focus PEAT’s future efforts in this area. This survey will close on June 30, 2015.

As a senior vice president and information technology manager at Wells Fargo, I frequently received the question, "Can the company buy me a...?" Managers and team members always seemed to want the latest and greatest gadget, software application, or piece of hardware. My answer was always, "How will it make you more productive, and how will it fit into our environment?" Most of the time, the requester had no answer to these questions, so we didn't pursue things any further.

I’m excited to be writing this introductory blog post officially announcing the launch of PEATworks.org, an interactive online resource focused on accessible technology in the workplace. This new web portal is the result of work done over the past year by the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT), a multi-faceted initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy to promote the employment of people with disabilities through the development and adoption of accessible technology.

Today, many companies are implementing “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) policies—meaning employees use their own mobile devices (laptops, tablets, and smartphones) at work to access company information and applications. When it comes to accessibility, such policies can offer advantages for both employers and technology users. But they also present some challenges.

PEAT wants to share your good ideas on this website and elsewhere, and you'll have control over how we do that, including staying anonymous. Submit your response by using the button below.

Measurement is an important part of ensuring an accessible technology initiative is meeting its intended goals. Metrics, both quantitative and qualitative, can help validate activities, identify where to concentrate, and communicate to internal and external stakeholders.

PEAT wants to share your good ideas on this website and elsewhere, and you'll have control over how we do that, including staying anonymous. Submit your response by using the button below.

Sometimes accessibility barriers are identified after a product is launched. These barriers can be documented internally, and then addressed when products are updated. Different enterprises may perform this function in different ways; some use a dedicated accessibility tool, while others add an accessibility section to a general product management tool.

PEAT wants to share your good ideas on this website and elsewhere, and you'll have control over how we do that, including staying anonymous. Submit your response by using the button below.

When a company adopts an accessibility initiative, whether formal or not, it is valuable to communicate that commitment, both internally and externally. Such expressions of commitment may run the gamut from statements on public-facing websites to internal training programs to participation in accessibility associations and events.

PEAT wants to share your good ideas on this website and elsewhere, and you'll have control over how we do that, including staying anonymous. Submit your response by using the button below.

Strong accessibility initiatives usually have support from the top—executives and other leaders who communicate their commitment to an

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) is a national grassroots disability rights organization run by and for people with autism that works to improve public understanding of people with autism, including perceptions related to employment. ASAN also provides insight and expertise into the importance of accessible technology to people with autism and cognitive disabilities in general.

PEAT recently spoke with Julia Bascom, ASAN’s director of programs, about the organization's work in this area.

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., CTIAThe Wireless Association® represents the wireless communications industry and has a history of leadership on mobile accessibility issues.

We recently spoke with CTIA's Matthew Gerst, director of state regulatory & external affairs, about CTIA's work in this area.

The World Institute on Disability (WID) is an internationally recognized leader in promoting inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of community life, including employment. Founded in 1983 by leaders of the Independent Living Movement, it is headquartered at universally designed Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley, California. PEAT recently spoke with WID's executive director Anita Aaron about her organization's work in the area of accessible technology.

Some organizations use a business case to justify their accessibility initiative and help drive its development. Some do not, arguing that accessibility simply has to be done, for many good reasons. What’s your take?

PEAT wants to share your good ideas on this website and elsewhere, and you'll have control over how we do that, including staying anonymous. Submit your response by using the button below.

If you embrace the adage "What Gets Measured Gets Done," you already know the value of evaluation and measurement. Measuring the progress of a corporate initiative helps keep it on track by identifying ways that it is—or isn't—meeting its intended goals. Metrics and measures can also demonstrate the need for a program in the first place, or prove that it's making a difference once implemented. This same logic applies to accessible workplace technology efforts.

Although legal requirements can sometimes feel burdensome to employers, on the accessibility front they can be very helpful. The relevant federal laws and regulations, such as "Section 508" and the "21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act" (CVAA) provide helpful and detailed information about technical standards that employers can use to guide their use and procurement of technology that is accessible to all users, including people with disabilities. 

Live recording of the webinar "Powering Up Your Employment Potential Through  Accessible Technology" originally recorded on Friday, September 26, 2014.

If you're a person with a disability and a user of technology, you are in a powerful position to help shape the accessibility of your current or future workplace.  Join PEAT’s guest speakers to learn how to advocate for the adoption and promotion of accessible technology and why accessibility matters in the workplace.