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Rachel Kerrigan of the Perkins-Business Partnership joined PEAT Talks to discuss how they are helping to bridge the hiring gap for people with disabilities by educating HR professionals online about common barriers to access. 

The annual HR Technology Conference is always an essential event for PEAT, given their focus on technology tools and trends shaping the field of human resources. This year we left feeling more excited and energized than ever, because the topic of accessibility is finally starting to take hold in the hearts and minds of HR Tech stakeholders.

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.

 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."

While new technologies have broken down countless barriers for individuals with disabilities, job hunting online continues to be fraught with accessibility-related obstacles that the general population may not even realize exist.  And as GettingHired's Gabrielle Nagle discusses, inaccessible eRecruiting doesn’t just affect the job seeker, but also the employer.

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.

If you're an employer about to take a leap into an accessible workplace technology effort, you might be wondering where to begin. It's a question I'm often asked by people who understand the "why" behind accessibility, but who are daunted by the "how." But getting started is actually pretty simple.