As we bring National Disability Employment Awareness Month to a close, let’s take a moment to reflect on the role of technology in building an inclusive workforce. On the one hand, almost every job requires some interaction with technology, from using email or chat channels to communicate with superiors and coworkers, to robotic assembly lines. Even the coffee maker can require a programmer! In an inclusive workplace, everyone should be able to access and operate the technology needed to do their job. On the other hand, people with disabilities may require additional or assistive technology to get to work, get into their workspace, and perform their job functions. This could range from a screen reader for a computer in an office to a specialized piece of equipment on a farm.
If you are an office manager, an HR professional, a small business owner, an employee or a job seeker with a disability, check out these resources from the NIDILRR grantee community to help you make your workplace technology inclusive.
- Inclusion starts at the beginning. Learn about making web-based job application forms accessible to all applicants with this factsheet from the Northwest ADA Regional Center.
- Browse through archived and upcoming webinars, factsheets, and guides on Accessible Technology in the Workplace hosted by the Great Lakes and Pacific ADA Regional Centers.
- The Mobile Accommodation Solution App was created by the Job Accommodation Network. It’s a first-of-its-kind case management tool that helps employers, services, providers, and employees effectively manage workplace accommodation requests throughout the employment lifecycle, from application to onboarding to advancement. Available for iOS and Android.
- Learn about “Awesome Apps and Adaptations” in this webinar from the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Advancing Employment for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. It highlights apps for self-regulation, work task sequencing, executive function, and more.
- Scroll through AbleData’s results for workplace technologies.
These resources from other agencies and organizations can also help:
- The Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology, funded by the Department of Labor, helps employers, IT companies, developers, and others understand why it bays to build, buy, and implement accessible technology, and how to do so.
- The National Agrability Project enhances the quality of life for farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural workers with disabilities. Learn how technology helps them on the farm and in the field.
Curious about new research in this area? These projects are currently working on technology solutions for an inclusive workforce:
- The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Information and Communication Technology Access is working on a cloud-based screen reader called WebAnywhere, as well as research on mobile pre-vocational coaching.
- The RERC on Universal Interface and Information Technology Access continues to develop the Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure (GPII) designed to make assistive technologies and other solutions for IT access available for more users, more efficiently and cost-effectively.
- NIDILRR continues to support the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) which promotes universal design in web-based communication.
Dive deeper into the research by exploring abstracts from our collection with these targeted REHABDATA searches: