RTW Resources: Accessible Technology

DMEC Staff@Work

The Missing Link: Why Accessible Workplace Technology Matters

Accessible Workplace TechnologyBy Josh Christianson, MS

Project Director
Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology

By Brett Sheats, JD

National Project Director
Viscardi Center

It’s hard to think of a workplace that doesn’t rely on information technology (IT). From websites and email to mobile devices and enterprise software, IT is everywhere in nearly every industry, helping us streamline operations, maximize productivity, and work smarter.

But when technology doesn’t work for everyone, including people with disabilities, the story changes. Technology goes from being a “great equalizer” to a tool of exclusion, creating barriers to employment and preventing the career advancement of certain individuals. Just imagine what it would be like if you couldn’t access your email, phone, or basic workplace tools. Could you do your job effectively? For many people with disabilities — including those who acquire disabilities through age, illness, or injury — this scenario is a reality. And inaccessible workplace technology is the root cause.

For many employers, the concept of accessible IT is new territory. They might understand the importance of a physically accessible workplace, but they may not fully grasp what inclusion and accessibility mean in relation to the virtual workplace. And such inexperience can lead to significant problems, from legal issues to decreased workforce productivity.

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