Teach Access Task Forces

One of the significant benefits of membership in Teach Access is the opportunity to impact the future of digital accessibility. Teach Access members commit to participate in one or more Task Forces and to join their colleagues across industry, academia and advocacy as we work towards making accessibility mainstream.

Teach Access members employ their knowledge and expertise to drive a future in which accessible technology is the norm. The following briefly describes our current working Task Forces and their goals:


Universities
Task Force

Members of the University Task Force engage with leaders in academia to encourage and support curricular infusion of accessibility knowledge and skills in courses and programs from computer science, design, UX and other disciplines. This includes the use of existing as well as newly developed materials. The resulting enhanced curriculum will include the necessary skills required for designing and developing technology that is accessible to all. Each year, Teach Access awards grants of $2,500-$5,000 to faculty that will develop modules, presentations, exercises or curriculum enhancements or changes that introduce the fundamental concepts and skills of accessible design and development into their existing courses. For the upcoming 2022-2023 academic year $45,000 was awarded to faculty teaching a range of courses from Computer Science and Graphic Design to Facility Management in Recreation, Sport and Tourism. The coursework created each year from faculty grantees is collected and will be shared in a repository in keeping with our mission to make our advances and innovations open source.


Industry
Task Force

Our Industry Task Force participants focus on our partnership with Industry leaders. Teach Access member companies have the power to influence the growth of accessibility coursework and curricular material at the university level via their hiring standards and recruitment strategy. This task force has been leading the creation of the Accessibility Skills Hiring Toolkit to help organizations build internal capacity for producing accessible digital products by developing a knowledgeable and skilled workforce. Our current workforce is severely lacking in accessible design and development skills and the demand for that expertise continues to grow. The Industry Task Force team plays a vital role in creating the demand for workers who can create products that everyone can use.


Students
Task Force

The Students Task Force engages with students to create excitement around the potential opportunities for graduates with accessibility skills. Among other efforts, this Task Force is responsible for our annual Study Away program. The Study Away program brings together students, industry leaders, disability advocacy organizations and faculty to explore the field of accessibility. At Study Away, students are given the unique opportunity to work together and with industry leaders to address an accessibility challenge. Originally the Study Away program was an in person experience that took students to learn from our industry partners in Silicon Valley. The last two years, the program has been offered as a virtual program, which has opened up the experience to more students all over the world. The Study Away program continues to grow and has resulted in the creation of student professional networks, better awareness of career paths in accessibility and a better understanding of culture and success models in the technology industry. Next up for the Students Task Force in Fall 2022 is hosting the first annual Career Development Event, which will allow students to learn more about careers in accessibility, what recruiters are looking for, what it is like working for different organizations, and other topics that will help students prepare for the internship/job search process.