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Unlock the Power of Digital Accessibility

February 26, 2021 5:01 PM | NENA Admin (Administrator)

By Lauren Parker, NENA Director
Ticket to Work Senior Director, Virginia Career Works Northern Region

It feels like things have changed at warp speed this past year regarding how we work and interact with one another. A lot of us have transitioned to a service delivery model that is completely virtual. As we continue to adapt, it is more important than ever that our virtual services, resources, and information are accessible.

Just as our technology is ever-changing so too must our accessibility solutions. We can be proactive by asking questions about the information we share, services we provide, and products we use to deliver services. Can everyone read the content on my website? Is the attached PDF about a hiring event accessible? Did I add alt text to my presentation? What are the accessibility features of this virtual job platform? However, the key to sustaining accessibility is making sure we have a process in place. Digital accessibility is just that. It is the process for making our digital content and services accessible to all. For an overview of digital accessibility check out this short video.

Why it is important?

Technology is becoming increasingly embedded in our lives. In 2016, the UN declared access to the internet a human right. Digital accessibility makes good business sense too. It improves the digital experience for everyone, and companies that do not ensure digital accessibility are losing customers.

Whether you operate a small-business or work for a large organization, you have the power to make a difference. Help spread the word about digital accessibility.

Ways to get started

  • Learn more about digital accessibility and identify what you can do on your own and what you might need to outsource.
  • Find an accessibility partner. Many businesses offer compliance solutions, including website audits and document remediation. View the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) list of Website Accessibility Vendors.
  • Review your business processes. Are there additional steps you can include to ensure accessibility is not overlooked?
    • Incorporate an annual website audit into your budget and operations plans.
    • Look at your procurement process. Do you ask vendors if their products follow current Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) guidelines.
  • Create an accessibility statement for your business. Try this accessibility statement generator.
  • Develop a Digital Accessibility Policy. This guideline is targeted for schools, but is a resource anyone can use.

Want to dive deeper? Here are some additional resources—

The National Employment Network Association (NENA) serves Employment Networks (ENs), American Job Centers (AJCs), State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies (SVRAs) and other Stakeholders involved in the Social Security Administration's Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency Program.

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