Resource Library

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View a discussion with state accessibility CIOs Jeff Kline, Sarah Bourne, and Jay Wyant regarding Policy-Driven Adoption for Accessibility (PDAA). This new approach can help achieve higher levels of accessibility in vendor-provided products and services over the long term.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

Ernst & Young, LLP (EY) is a multinational professional services firm that provides assurance, tax, consulting, and advisory services to its clients. It employs more than 175,000 employees in more than 700 offices across the globe.

The company has earned great praise for its diversity and inclusion practices and was recently ranked number one on DiversityInc's list of top employers for people with disabilities. That commitment to inclusion extends to accessible workplace technology, and PEAT recently spoke with Lori B. Golden, the firm's abilities strategy leader, to learn more.

Looking for a roadmap to ensure that the technology in your workplace is accessible to all employees and job seekers?  You've come to the right place!  This Action Steps toolkit is designed to help employers learn the what, why, and how of accessible workplace technology. 

Live recording of the webinar "Employers & Accessible Technology: The What, Why, and How." The webinar was recorded on Wednesday, August 6, 2014. 

If you're an employer—in any industry—who is getting ready to issue a solicitation for technology products or support, or to talk to specific vendors about what they can offer, a little background research can help you identify the accessibility barriers and solutions for the products you are seeking. What you discover can then be incorporated into the procurement process, starting with your written requirements.

The key to success is to address accessibility from the start, by incorporating it into the procurement process, and then making sure to evaluate what technology providers promise and deliver. Because procurements processes differ from company to company, there is no one right way to do this. In his book, Strategic IT Accessibility: Enabling the Organization, IT accessibility expert Jeff Kline outlines 10 steps for determining where and when accessibility can be infused.

BYOD stands for "Bring Your Own Device," and it's an increasingly popular policy and practice in many of today's workplaces. BYOD offers some accessibility advantages for both employers and technology users—but there are also some unique challenges.

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.

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.

Once your company commits to increasing the accessibility of its workplace technology, it is smart to communicate that commitment, both internally and externally.

 
 

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.

One of the first steps in improving accessibility in the workplace is getting a clear idea of what ICT is being used, and whether it has any accessibility barriers.

As you develop your accessibility efforts or launch a program or initiative, it’s important to know—and be able to prove–that your activities are having a positive effect. Accessibility can be confusing and complex, but it is possible to measure what you are achieving, and doing that will reinforce the value of your accessibility work and let you understand and communicate about your progress.

Employers with strong, mature accessibility initiatives usually have support from the top—executives and other leaders who communicate their commitment to an information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure that is inclusive of people with disabilities throughout the organization.But what type of executive should spearhead your initiative? And how can you, as an internal accessibility advocate, recruit such a leader? PEAT suggests three easy action steps to get you on the right path.

Once developed, a solid, comprehensive business case can serve as an important tool in justifying your company's accessibility initiative and communicating about it, both internally and externally.