Teach Access envisions a fully accessible future in which students are equipped to enter the workforce with knowledge of, and skills in, the principles of accessible design and development and the needs of people with disabilities, which results in technology products and services that are born accessible.
Teach Access is an active collaboration among education, industry, and disability advocacy organizations to address the critical need to enhance students’ understanding of digital accessibility as they learn to design, develop, and build new technologies with the needs of people with disabilities in mind.
We believe that technology is integral to our culture, our society and our workplace and should be usable by everyone, regardless of their abilities or disabilities. While there has been progress in a variety of applications, standards and regulations, accessibility is still not systemic in the development of new and emerging technologies.
Today, knowledge of accessible development is limited to a handful of domain experts. To reach the goal of making technology accessible to everyone, we must broaden expertise across industry. Accessibility must become mainstream.
One of the greatest challenges to making accessible technology more ubiquitous is a lack of awareness and understanding of basic accessibility issues, concepts and best practices.
We propose to begin building this foundation of knowledge in higher education, with enhanced training and collaborations with people with disabilities. Students in fields such as design, computer sciences and human computer interaction must be better prepared to enter the workforce and create future technologies that are truly inclusive. Only then will technology reach its true potential for connecting and enabling everyone in the world.
We believe this goal can be achieved
To tackle these challenges, our objectives are:
To include accessibility and universal design principles in the curricula of computer scientists, designers and researchers in undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education;
To foster expansion of accessibility in higher education through approaches such as internships, challenge grants for research and curriculum development and industry partnerships. These initiatives will focus on practical applications for accessibility including open-source projects and research studies;
To build online learning tools that reflect and teach accessibility best practices. To make these tools widely available to individuals, companies and organizations;
To develop job descriptions that include preference for accessibility knowledge, to increase accessibility focus within recruitment activities and to extend the post-secondary foundation through “on the job training” in product and service development.
Teach Access is a fiscal sponsorship fund at Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF). Donations will be processed by SVCF, a 501(c)(3) public charity registered in the United States, EIN# 20-5205488. Contributions will be tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law. SVCF will provide a formal acknowledgment letter containing tax-deduction language for your records.