The Teach Access initiative aims to elevate knowledge and understanding of accessibility in higher education and across key technology disciplines like engineering, research and design. To achieve this goal, the initiative involves a number of complementary projects that you can learn about below.
The companies that are supporting Teach Access are focused on the continual improvement of the accessibility of their products and services and have recognized that the success of this effort relies on a technical workforce broadly familiar with and trained on the fundamentals of designing, developing, testing and proliferating accessible technologies, including the common standards and specifications and alternative interfaces used by people with disabilities. These skills should be spread across a variety of engineering, development and design positions, not just those dedicated full-time to accessibility. To help achieve this goal, we are adding appropriate language in our job descriptions that emphasize the skill set we’re seeking. We believe that by highlighting our need for new talent to enter the workforce prepared with this knowledge, we will be shining a spotlight on our dedication to this shared mission, we will be raising awareness among job-seekers (and their alma maters) and we will eventually save significant time and effort presently spent training existing staff on the requirements we face in the global marketplace.
The Teach Access initiative has launched a tutorial which explains and demonstrates best practices for making mobile apps and websites accessible. The tutorial provides basic training for developers and designers, with more disciplines to come. If you are new to accessibility, you’ve come to the right place – this portal will help you get up and running on accessibility via hands-on exercises and useful reference guides. It is available here: https://teachaccess.github.io/tutorial/
Advancing Accessibility in Higher Education curriculums
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.