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On January 17, the PEAT Think Tank held an in-person meeting with leadership from the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). Based on an in-depth analysis of insights gathered at the meeting, PEAT has distilled a set of potential action steps that PEAT, DOL, and other organizations can use to prioritize emerging and prospective efforts around advancing accessible technology and employment.
PEAT's 2017 Think Tank meeting explored key issues related to accessible workplace technology through working groups and rich facilitated discussions with 63 participants representing industry, government, academia, and the disability community. The event generated several tangible recommendations for closing the accessible technology skills gap, expanding government apprenticeship and workforce programs for people with disabilities, and encouraging the development of accessible products.
According to a new survey report by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 84% of organizations are now using social media for recruiting, up from 56% in 2011. These survey results add detail and paint a picture of what has become obvious: more and more, employers are posting job openings and information for job seekers on social media. And when these posts are not accessible, employers may be missing out on top talent.
One of the great promises of technology is that it can, and should, open the doors for people with disabilities to participate in the workplace by eliminating barriers. But when Deque web accessibility consultant and strategist Denis Boudreau investigated the basic accessibility of five top job hunting sites, the results were grim.
Deputy Secretary of Labor Chris Lu discusses his takeaways from meeting with the great Stevie Wonder and hundreds of other dedicated leading accessibility "stars" at last month's International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference (CSUN). As he notes, "our commitment to accessible technology is about basic civil rights, as well as the collective productivity of America’s workforce...employers, technology vendors and tech users with disabilities must all work together to raise awareness and educate one another about accessible workplace technology issues, most of which can be easily solved."
As businesses compete to attract talented, skilled employees, it’s important to make sure that artificial barriers aren’t blocking their path. In this cautionary tale, Sassy Outwater explains how employers may be missing out on top candidates when their online hiring and recruiting systems aren't accessible.
For several members of the PEAT team, October was a busy month of travel, talk, and trend spotting as we headed west to attend three conferences: the Coleman Institute on Cognitive Disabilities Annual Conference (October 15); HR Technology Conference and Expo (HR Tech) (October 18-21); and the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP) Access 2015 (October 21-23). All presented valuable opportunities for our team to learn, share knowledge, examine future trends, and identify ways to strengthen PEAT's work.
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.