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Today, the ability to use ICT technologies is a core element of most jobs, but many applications and websites aren't accessible to everyone. What if employees could use the access features they need anywhere, anytime, on any device? In our September PEAT Talk, Raising the Floor’s Gregg Vanderheiden revealed that this reality may be closer than you think. 

It’s no surprise that a team effort is essential for providing accessibility professionals with a strong network of professional support, and in our August PEAT Talk, Rob Sinclair discussed how the recent merger of IAAP and G3ict will promote and support the accessibility profession on a more global scale.

Last month’s M-Enabling Summit brought international leaders together from a range of fields connected to the promotion and advancement of accessible mobile applications—and allowed PEAT to advance key actions related to accessible technology issues impacting employment though a policy roundtable and a panel discussion.

Could your company’s social media recruitment practices be inadvertently screening out qualified candidates with disabilities? In our June PEAT Talk, digital marketer Eliza Greenwood discussed the simple steps you can take to ensure that your messaging is reaching a full audience.

 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. 

Ben Caldwell reports on the successes of the recent WWW+W4A Hackathon hosted by PEAT and Google Montreal to make H5P (a popular web-based product used widely in workplaces and schools) more accessible. "It was truly inspirational," he notes, "to see how much progress a small group of individuals can make...particularly given that the majority of participants were new to both H5P and accessibility." 

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."

The terms “accessibility” and “universal design” are often used together these days. But what is actually meant by these two terms?  Sina Bahram, a digital accessibility expert, broke it down for us at our January PEAT Talk.

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.

The six phases of the Employment Lifecycle and their corresponding technologies. 

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: