Minnesota’s Chief Information Accessibility Officer Jay Wyant lists specific areas of concern that job applicants with disabilities often face when it comes to online applications.


My name is Jay Wyant. I am the Chief Information Accessibility Officer for the State of Minnesota, or what we like to say, “CIAO.” And my role is to work with all the state agencies and decentralized IT services to make sure that we are delivering accessible, usable technology for both our employees and our public.

When people are searching for or applying for jobs online, there are several—two—areas of concern with regard to accessibility. One is the technology itself and the other is the process. So, for example, with an online application itself. Of course, if that online application is inaccessible, major concerns are pages timing out, pages not being saved easily enough so that when you’re trying to fill out a page and you have trouble working on a part of the document and it times out, you have no way to recover it. Other issues are keyboard accessibility. Very often, the upload process, for example, say, “Upload your resume here” has to be done with a mouse. You need to make that keyboard accessible.

There are a number of issues like those, regarding the online application process, that have long been problematic for a lot of people with disabilities. Or, if you’re supposed to upload or copy your resume, sometimes the uploading with a copy of resume don’t make it very easy to do it, particularly if you’ve got a formatted resume and you’re uploading to an unformatted space, then you have to go in and re-clean up everything. And for some people, that can be very difficult to do. Way too many un-captioned videos out there. Too many people feel that they could just put up a video and be done with it or they use automated captioning, and neither are sufficient. So, videos are a problem in terms of informational videos, videos on how to apply for a job, all those kind of videos. They need to be better. The captions need to be more well taken care of.

[narrator speaking] For more information on the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology and TalentWorks, please contact www.peatworks.org/talentworks or e-mail us at info@peatworks.org(link sends e-mail).