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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.

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.

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.

A list of helpful sources of information related to accessible workplace technology.

Building, buying, and adopting accessible workplace technology is a smart business strategy for employers—but don't just take our word for it. As part of PEAT's commitment to dialogue and industry collaboration, we're constantly on the lookout for employer experiences and exemplary practices that we can share with our users.

It's important to know—and be able to prove—that your activities are having a positive effect. PEAT offers several resources to help you measure and evaluate your progress

Once you and your company make a commitment to accessible workplace technology, it is vital that you communicate it both internally and externally.

If accessible workplace technology is your goal, you must ensure that you buy accessible technology in the first place and deploy solutions that work for all users.  

Achieving a technology-accessible workplace quite often means establishing an internal, company-wide initiative to help ensure that accessibility remains a priority. 

A key step in ensuring a an accessible workplace is to assess the information and communications technology (ICT) that you already have in place. This is an ongoing process that involves taking inventory of your existing technologies and making a plan to address any accessibility issues— either by working with the vendors who created the solutions you use or with your own internal IT developers.

If you're new to accessible technology or want a basic overview, please check out our frequently asked questions (FAQs).