ODEP is working to increase the hiring, job success, and career advancement of people with disabilities through the development, adoption and promotion of accessible technology and universal design.
ODEP's Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT)
The Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT) works to foster collaboration and action on accessible technology in the workplace. Guided by a consortium of policy and technology leaders, PEAT helps employers, IT companies, developers, and others understand why it pays to build, buy, and implement accessible technology, and how to do so. The Partnership is committed to hosting dialogues on accessible technology, developing useful resources and tools, and helping implement policies that promote the accessibility of workplace technologies.
PEAT offers a wide range of resources and opportunities for collaboration to employers, IT companies, and technology users. These include:
- PEAT eNews, a lively and informative bimonthly eNewsletter. Sign up for the PEAT newsletter
- Accessible Technology Action Steps: A Guide for Employers, a roadmap for employers to help them ensure that their workplace technology is accessible to all employees and job applicants.
- Policy Matters, an online toolkit featuring plain language policy briefs and analyses on the Federal laws that affect accessible technology and how they apply to businesses. From the Section 508 refresh to progress around Section 501, Policy Matters can help employers and others understand the regulatory landscape influencing accessible tech.
- TalentWorks, an online resource from PEAT that helps employers and human resources (HR) professionals make their e-recruiting technologies accessible to all job seekers, including those with disabilities. Learn more about TalentWorks
- Buy IT!: Your Guide for Purchasing Accessible Technology, a free online resource that helps employers and their resource purchasing staff build accessibility and usability into their IT procurement processes. Learn more about BuyIT!
- TechCheck, an online resource to help employers assess their technology accessibility practices. Whether you have a formal accessible technology effort or not, TechCheck gives you a benchmarking "snapshot" of the current state of your technology, the accessibility goals you want to reach, and what steps you might take to achieve them. Learn more about TechCheck.
- Future of Work, a free podcast series in collaboration with the human resources web portal Workology.com. The series explores workplace technology trends in the context of accessibility and the employment of people with disabilities. Learn more about Future of Work.
New Federal Resources on Accessible Technology
Technology Bill of Rights — The National Council on Disability (NCD), an independent Federal agency, called on Congress to establish a Technology Bill of Rights for Americans with Disabilities in its 2016 annual report to Congress and the President. The report identifies access to information and communications innovations as a civil rights issue due to the power technology has to transform civic engagement and economic opportunity in the U.S. The report includes a section detailing the important role accessible technology plays in finding and maintaining employment, and speaks to the relationship of technology to health care, education, and living independently.
Improving the Accessibility of Social Media — Government agencies are increasingly using social media to engage with citizens, share information and deliver services more quickly and effectively than ever before. But as social content, data and platforms become more diverse, agencies must ensure these digital services are accessible to all citizens, including people with disabilities. ODEP and the General Services Administration's (GSA) Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies recently updated their Improving the Accessibility of Social Media in Government Toolkit. Created with the input of social media leaders and users across government and the private sector, this living document contains helpful tips, real-life examples and best practices to ensure that social media content is usable and accessible to all citizens, including those with disabilities.
New Section 508 Resources on Accessible Technology — GSA has also updated its Section 508 website. The site provides information and links to guidance, resources, tools, blog posts, and articles focused on helping Federal agencies implement the requirements of Section 508 as they apply to the development, procurement, and use of information and communication technology products and services.
Additional ODEP Resources on Accessible Technology
Technology as a Workplace Accommodation — ODEP's Job Accommodation Network (JAN) provides downloadable fact sheets and other resources on accessible and assistive technologies as workplace accommodations.
Creating an Accessible Workplace: Technological Accessibility — ODEP's Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) provides additional resources for employers on business strategies that incorporate accessible technology.
Roadmaps II for Enhancing Employment of Persons with Disabilities through Accessible Technology — This guide explains how accessible technology can help people with disabilities succeed in the workplace.
Additional Federal Resources on Accessible Technology
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Guidance Regarding Obligations Relating to Accessible Technology — The U.S. Department of Justice enforces the ADA to ensure that people with disabilities can access websites, electronic book readers, online courses, and other technologies. This guidance will help you understand your obligations as they relate to accessible technologies.
Access Board Final Rule on Requirements for Information and Communication Technology under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 255 of the Communication Act — The Section 508 Standards apply to electronic and information technology procured by the Federal Government, including computer hardware and software; websites; and multimedia, such as video, phone systems, and copiers. The Section 255 Guidelines cover access to telecommunications products and services, and apply to manufacturers of telecommunication equipment.