This past summer, the inaugural Teach Access Study Away program brought together faculty, industry partners, and 26 students from four universities to explore the field of accessibility in Silicon Valley. The mission of Teach Access is to build a foundation of accessibility knowledge at the higher education level to ensure that current students gain the knowledge they need to help make technology accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities.

PEAT and Teach Access recently published a short video highlighting how this program equips students to be advocates of accessibility, build their professional networks, and learn about accessibility career paths.

Programs like this that offer students opportunities to receive accessibility training and job experience with tech companies are an essential part of closing the accessible technology skills gap. As PEAT’s research has shown, a current major barrier to ensuring that workplace technology is accessible is that many tech companies can’t find job candidates with the accessible tech skills they need. Among industry respondents, 83% reported seeing a moderate or significant increase in demand for accessibility skills over the last five years, and over 93% expect this demand will increase in the future.

Teach Access hopes to expand this program in 2019, and we at PEAT look forward to seeing this and other creative approaches to helping our future tech leaders design with accessibility in mind. For more information about the inaugural 2018 event this past summer, check out Lauren Rabb’s engaging recap. And please be sure to help promote this exciting opportunity for students by sharing the video with your networks!