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>>Hello, and welcome to PEAT Talks, the virtual speaker series from the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology. On every third Thursday of the month, PEAT Talks showcases various organizations and individuals whose work and innovations are advancing accessible technology in the workplace. My name is Christa Beal. I’m a member of the PEAT team and I’ll be hosting this today’s talk.

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.

Event Date: 
April 21, 2016 - 2:00 pm to 2:30 pm EDT

Interested in why accessible eRecruiting tools make sense, and how to implement? Join Denis Boudreau, senior web accessibility consultant for Deque, to learn the simple steps that web developers and designers can take to ensure that job seekers with disabilities are not excluded from employment opportunities.

Event Date: 
March 17, 2016 - 2:00 pm to 2:30 pm EDT

Sharron Rush, co-founder and Executive Director of Knowbility, explains the importance of user testing to ensure that workplace technologies are truly accessible.

Online hiring practices have made it increasingly easy to apply for a job—unless you’re a person with a disability, that is. Senior Web Accessibility Consultant Denis Boudreau explores the problem of why the employment rate of Americans with disabilities has continued to drop for the last 25 years, and how web designers and developers hold a key to improving the situation.

Event Date: 
February 18, 2016 - 2:00 pm to 2:30 pm EST

Dan Sullivan, Vice President of Sales at AudioEye, talks about the return-on-investment for employers who embrace accessible technology that benefits all users.

When it comes to the accessibility of web pages, web applications and web tools, most people turn to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), the internationally recognized standards developed and maintained by the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). In order to help technology providers and employers understand the basics of WCAG and other related accessibility standards, PEAT spoke with the W3C's Shawn Henry, who leads their worldwide education and outreach promoting web accessibility.

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.

Event Date: 
January 21, 2016 - 2:00 pm to 2:30 pm EST

Universal design allows us to develop content and experiences that are inclusive of the widest possible audience. In this recorded webinar, Sina Bahram discusses how Prime Access Consulting (PAC) has worked with museums, universities, and corporations to successfully apply universal design principles to help advance digital accessibility for a variety of clients.

In the spirit of NDEAM, PEAT guest contributor Dana Marlowe explores how the practice of "Bring Your Own Device" (BYOD) can boost productivity and help people of all abilities succeed on the job. "Nowhere does BYOD have more potential and measurable benefit than in the employment of people with disabilities," she writes. Marlowe is the founder and president of IT consulting firm Accessibility Partners.

This event provided resource sharing and collaboration opportunities to federal government employees, contractors, and others working to ensure the technologies they use, develop, and promote are accessible. The workshop presentation materials are available for download to anyone interested in learning or sharing digital accessibility.

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

PEAT is seeking stories that demonstrate the power of accessible technology in fueling the employment success of people with disabilities. If you are an employee with a disability or an employer with experiences to share in this area, please submit a short personal statement.

Powers Pyles Sutter and Verville principal Bobby Silverstein details the various accessibility policies and how companies can strategize to make this part of their company culture.

Minnesota’s Chief Information Accessibility Officer Jay Wyant lists specific areas of concern that job applicants with disabilities often face when it comes to online applications.

PEAT Deputy Project Director Corinne Weible answers the common question of “What is the difference between accessible technology and assistive technology?”

TalentWorks is a free online tool for employers and human resources professionals that helps them ensure their online job applications and other eRecruiting technologies are accessible to job seekers with disabilities. PEAT created the tool based on its national survey of people with disabilities, where 46% of respondents rated their last experience applying for a job online as "difficult to impossible."

With most of today's employers using some form of web recruiting to evaluate and hire job applicants, it's more important than ever for organizations to understand why accessibility matters to the "eRecruiting" phase of the employment lifecycle. This summer, PEAT concluded its national survey on user experiences related to the accessibility of online job applications and other eRecruiting tools. Check out our new infographic summarizing the survey results, and stay tuned as PEAT develops new tools and resources related to this critical issue.

Event Date: 
November 19, 2015 - 2:00 pm to 2:30 pm EST

BizAbility founders Ted Drake, Principal Engineer at Intuit, and JJ Meddaugh, President of AT Guys, introduce this new, community-driven resource for business owners with disabilities and entrepreneurs to find the accessible tools they need to build and run their business effectively.

Event Date: 
April 05, 2016 - 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm EDT

Project Director Josh Christianson and Lead Strategic Consultant Joiwind Ronen demonstrate TalentWorks, PEAT's free online tool for employers and human resources professionals that helps them ensure their online job applications and other eRecruiting technologies are accessible to job seekers with disabilities. Originally recorded April 5, 2016.

View a discussion with state accessibility CIOs Jeff Kline, Sarah Bourne, and Jay Wyant regarding Policy-Driven Adoption for Accessibility (PDAA). This new approach can help achieve higher levels of accessibility in vendor-provided products and services over the long term.

Robert "Bobby" Silverstein, one of the behind-the-scenes architects of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), reflects upon how the ADA is now increasingly playing a critical role in ensuring equal employment opportunities for people with disabilities by ensuring the accessibility of information and communication technologies (ICT).

Live recording of a discussion with Adam Streets about GettingHired (link is external)’s accessible platform for job seekers, and the feedback the company has received from job seekers on the application process.

Lainey Feingold is a nationally-recognized disability rights lawyer known for negotiating landmark accessibility agreements and pioneering the collaborative advocacy and dispute resolution method known as “Structured Negotiations.” PEAT recently spoke with Feingold about her work around digital accessibility and its impact on the employment of people with disabilities.

"Bring Your Own Device" (BYOD) is an increasingly popular policy and practice in workplaces today. In this recorded webinar, Dana Marlowe, Accessibility Partners LLC (link is external), discusses the accessibility advantages BYOD can offer for both employers and technology users.

 

Social media is a key tool for employers today to attract talent and promote their brand. In this live recording, founder Dennis Lembree discusses the inclusive Twitter application Easy Chirp (link is external), which provides the ability to "tweet" accessible images. This innovation has won several awards, including the 2014 FCC Chairman’s Award for the Advancement in Accessibility.

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:

PEAT is delighted to be taking part in the 30th Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference (CSUN) in San Diego next week, starting March 2. Known as a forum that showcases cutting edge technology and practical solutions that can be utilized to remove the barriers that prevent the full participation of persons with disabilities in educational, workplace and social settings, this conference is the largest of its kind in the world.

If you‘ll be attending CSUN, we hope you’ll join PEAT for A Fresh Look at Accessibility and Online Job Applications. During this session, Joiwind Ronen and Josh Christianson will share PEAT’s research findings on this critical topic. We’ll be meeting on Friday, March 6, 2015 at 8:00 AM PST in Cortez Hill C, 3rd Floor, Seaport Tower.

Jamal Mazrui has both a professional and personal connection to accessible technology. He's the deputy director of the Accessibility and Innovation Initiative (A&I Initiative) at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the independent agency of the U.S. government that regulates interstate communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable. Jamal is also blind, and a developer and user of technology inside and outside the workplace. PEAT recently spoke with Mazrui about his work and his own personal experiences with workplace technology.

Live recording of the webinar "Expanding What it Means to Be Accessible: Addressing the Workplace Technology Needs of Users with Cognitive Disabilities." The webinar was recorded on Thursday, December 11, 2014.

Job-hunting isn’t what it used to be! Back when I started out in the workforce, looking for a job meant picking up the phone to ask about job openings, and mailing (yes, snail mailing, with a stamp) paper copies of my resume and cover letter. But times have certainly changed.

Today, everything seems to be happening online. Most people find and apply for job openings online. Some companies even conduct pre-employment assessments on the web and remote interviews before they ever meet a job candidate in person—if they do at all.

Years ago, I was issued a compelling challenge by my friend and colleague, Dr. David Braddock, executive director of the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities. He asked me to consider examining the right to web access for people with cognitive disabilities—and I was intrigued.

CLOSED: Tell us about your experiences!  PEAT is conducting a national survey about online job applications. This initiative will help us to better understand and document accessibility needs related to online job seeking and focus PEAT’s future efforts in this area. This survey will close on June 30, 2015.

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.