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As a senior vice president and information technology manager at Wells Fargo, I frequently received the question, "Can the company buy me a...?" Managers and team members always seemed to want the latest and greatest gadget, software application, or piece of hardware. My answer was always, "How will it make you more productive, and how will it fit into our environment?" Most of the time, the requester had no answer to these questions, so we didn't pursue things any further.

I’m excited to be writing this introductory blog post officially announcing the launch of PEATworks.org, an interactive online resource focused on accessible technology in the workplace. This new web portal is the result of work done over the past year by the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT), a multi-faceted initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy to promote the employment of people with disabilities through the development and adoption of accessible technology.

PEAT recently spoke with Julia Bascom, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN)’s director of programs, about the organization's work in the area of accessible technology and its important to people with autism and cognitive disabilities in general.

PEAT recently spoke with the World Institute on Disability (WID)'s executive director Anita Aaron about her organization's work in the area of accessible technology.

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. 

Live recording of the webinar "Powering Up Your Employment Potential Through  Accessible Technology" originally recorded on Friday, September 26, 2014.

BYOD stands for "Bring Your Own Device," and it's an increasingly popular policy and practice in many of today's workplaces. BYOD offers some accessibility advantages for both employers and technology users—but there are also some unique challenges.

To optimize their employment potential, individuals with disabilities should have a basic understanding of what accessible workplace technology is—and use this knowledge to assess and meet their own needs.

Once your company commits to increasing the accessibility of its workplace technology, it is smart to communicate that commitment, both internally and externally.

 
 

People at all levels of a company can demonstrate leadership and shape their current or future workplace. Here are some of PEAT's ideas about how you can advocate for accessible technology at work.