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By Bobby Silverstein, Principal, Powers Pyles Sutter & Verville, PC

The following document is background information I compiled for an interview with PEAT about the policy implications for people with disabilities participating in the gig economy.

The information below reflects my own research and analysis and does not represent the views of PEAT, the Department of Labor, or any other agency or organization. This background information should not be construed as providing legal advice; readers need to consult with their own attorney. 

At this year's Coleman Conference on Cognitive Disability and Technology, PEAT had the opportunity to learn from experts working on the latest research on technology for people with cognitive disabilities, and to share with attendees the work we do around public policy and accessible workplace technology.

Getting thousands of employees to understand and integrate an accessibility mindset into their day-to-day work is no easy task. At Capital One, the accessibility team has launched a range of creative internal efforts to promote widespread awareness of accessibility standards and best practices.

The Paciello Group’s Henny Swan argues that it’s time to shift our thinking away from compliance by recognizing how accessible technology can enable people by design.

This new video explores the connection between the six phases of employment and where accessible IT comes into play.

An overview of the types of solicitations you can use to achieve a successful procurement. 

If you don’t already have executive buy-in for your commitment to accessibility and usability, it’s time to make the case to the powers that be—whether they are top leaders in your organization, your chief information officer (CIO), or the head of procurement. 

While jobs in the technology industry have grown exponentially, they’re not always accessible to  applicants with disabilities—and Ather Sharif is on a mission to change that.

This year's USBLN conference focused on “Disability: A Catalyst for Innovation" and showcased accessible technology’s role in fostering business success.

Designed for internal staff presentations within AJCs, this ready-to-share presentation deck is a perfect tool to train staff on WIOA and accessible technology best practices.

 WIOA and Accessible Technology: A Digital Access Primer for American Job Centers

Dr. Shea Tanis, Associate Director of the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities, recently joined PEAT to discuss why technology access is everyone’s right, and how tech solutions are changing employment opportunities for people with cognitive disabilities.

People with disabilities are propelling technology to become more accessible—which in turn is driving innovative breakthroughs from both companies and the people with disabilities who work at them.

For those who follow the world of web accessibility, this year brought a big development—the first public draft of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (

AJCs can use this handy one-pager to reference ICT accessibility best practices related to websites, online systems, and other tools.

This fact sheet offers AJCs an “at-a-glance” overview of the tech-related implications of WIOA, and where to find assistance in meeting accessible ICT responsibilities.

Intuit's Ted Drake recently shared some firsthand knowledge and tips for how jobseekers with disabilities can improve their appeal as potential candidates by using social media to craft their own digital brand.

People with cognitive disabilities have an equal right to technology and information access. Learn more about this official statement by a coalition of disability organizations and individuals, and how interested parties can sign on to endorse it.

Right out of the gate, this year's M-Enabling Summit had us thinking about our mission in a brand-new way, with an emphasis on one surprising word: octopus.    

AccessibilityOZ founder Gian Wild explores why PDFs can be tricky from an accessibility perspective, and best practices for using them.

This article outlines accessibility best practices for PDFs.

This year’s Accessibility Hack at the Web For All (W4A) Conference demonstrated that collaboration from diverse backgrounds pays big dividends when it comes to accessibility—and that developers can often make easy changes that make a big difference for end users, even when retrofitting a product.

PEAT’s work to foster collaboration and action around accessibility in the workplace would not be possible without contributions from the strong global community that supports us, comprised of accessibility experts, employers, government entities, disability advocates, and others. In celebration of GAAD, here's a list of some of our favorite actionable quotes from our contributors. 

Taleo is the leading applicant tracking system (ATS) used by HR professionals worldwide to source and manage talent. Recently, the Taleo team sat down with PEAT to discuss Oracle’s ongoing journey to make this platform accessible to users with disabilities.

Employers and other entities covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act and Title V of the Rehabilitation Act can add the following procurement language to contracts with product vendors to enhance the accessibility of purchased or licensed products.

Keeping with tradition, this year's conference delivered another robust line-up of educational sessions highlighting worldwide efforts to make technology more accessible to people with disabilities.

Today, everything from your paycheck to your company’s recruitment portal is likely powered by electronic payroll systems and human capital management platforms. Jennifer Ravalli of ADP recently joined PEAT to discuss how and why ADP has worked with accessible software provider AudioEye to make their cloud-based HR platforms more accessible.

Headed to CSUN 2017? Marcy Sutton of Deque Systems invites developers and non-developers alike to help make workplace technology products more accessible to people with disabilities by joining the aXe Hackathon.

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. 

AccessibilityOz CEO Gian Wild explains why making your videos accessible also boosts user engagement generally.

By 2020, experts predict that 82% of consumer web traffic will be video. This factsheet on producing accessible videos will help ensure that your videos reach a full audience.

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.

Writing good alternative text for website images means focusing on quality, not quantity. To ensure equal access for employees and job seekers using screen readers, you must tailor each image description on your website to the specific context it is used in. 

Section 255 requires manufacturers to ensure that telecommunications equipment and services are designed, developed, and fabricated to be accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, when it is readily achievable to do so.

If you’ve got a website, you may be relying on tables to convey information. But if those tables are not created correctly, they can create a real mess for employees and job seekers trying to access the information they need, particularly people who are blind, people with low vision, and people with cognitive disabilities. To learn what makes a good table—and the pitfalls of bad ones!—please read on.

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. 

Perkins School for the Blind and Harvard Extension School have partnered to provide a free online course titled “Introduction to Inclusive Talent Acquisition” for hiring managers and recruiters.

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."

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.

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

Accessibility matters to people with all kinds of disabilities—not just those with vision and hearing impairments. That means individuals with intellectual and learning disabilities, cognitive issues, traumatic brain injuries, and other disabilities, all of which can make using the Internet more challenging.

This article explores tips for communicating about accessibility–clearly, directly, and throughout the technology development lifecycle.

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

One of the first steps in improving accessibility in the workplace is getting a clear idea of what ICT is being used, and whether it has any accessibility barriers.