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Monica Samanta

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Article Review: Agencies Overlook Disability Rule

Written by Matthew Weigelt for Federal Computer Week, the article Agencies Overlook Disability Rule makes evident that very few agency IT solicitations pay attention to the mandatory Section 508 guidelines in regards to information technology products. This makes it increasingly more difficult for persons with disabilities to conquer barriers they face with their daily routines. With all the steps being taken today to break down barriers for persons with disabilities, this is a disapointment to the General Services Administration as well as the US Access Board. To ensure that all solicitations received by the GSA are in compliance with Section 508 standards, these solicitations will be assesed and graded on a score card from now on. Will this be enough to guarantee that all agencies will keep the mandatory Section 508 standards in mind, or do more actions need to be taken?

**Section 508 requires that Federal agencies' electronic and information technology is accessible to people with disabilities. IT Accessibility & Workforce Division, in the U.S. General Services Administration's Office of Governmentwide Policy, has been charged with the task of educating Federal employees and building the infrastructure necessary to support Section 508 implementation. Using this web site, Federal employees and the public can access resources for understanding and implementing the requirements of Section 508.
-- http://www.section508.gov/index.cfm

Click here to read the full article!

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Related Items:

• EZ Access


• Monitoring and Evaluation of Disability-Inclusive Development: Data and Statistics

• Nominations Open for U.S. FCC Chairman’s Award for Advancement in Accessibility (AAA)

• Australian Disability Network Presents 8th Annual National Conference 2016, Sydney, Australia

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Jenifer Simpson
What should happen is to have the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) devise some way to ensure that federal supervisors and managers are made responsible in their job descriptions, and rated accordingly during evaluations, to: #1-hire more people with disabilities; #2-ensure that persons with disabilities hired get the accessible technology they need to do their jobs. The number of persons with disabilities in federal jobs is decreasing, rather than increasing, and while accessible technology is only part of this sorry story, unless there is a commitment made -- to hire and to ensure necessary accessibility the day the person with a disability starts the job stuff -- we won't see the kind of implementation of Sec 508 that should happen.
08:04 PM, 04/14/2008

Jim Tobias
Yes, there is always a risk that we are achieving only a "Potemkin Village" of accessibility. If you attend accessible technology conferences and visit the exhibits, you will see a solution for every problem. But how many users actually have those solutions? Similarly, if you only look at policy statements, laws, and regulations, you may conclude that access is guaranteed to all, even though it may exist only on paper. In both cases we need to improve our ability to collect data on real experiences, and we need better frameworks for understanding where "the system" is not working as it was intended to.
02:47 PM, 04/14/2008

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