Strategy Development and Implementation Addressing Technology Career Needs
Resolution 2016-21
 
Whereas, mainstream business and commerce in America make growing use of online technology and communications to conduct business and communicate with their customers and other constituencies; and
 
Whereas, many of these companies, including technology developers such as those represented and honored at this convention, including major retailers and others, are coming to recognize the necessity for accessibility as an element of these communications; and
 
Whereas, many leading technology companies are endeavoring to incorporate accessibility into the design of their hardware and software offerings; and
 
Whereas, as a consequence of this recognition and implementation, many leading technology companies are advertising and seeking to fill accessibility-related positions in areas of product development, website testing and customer support; and
 
Whereas, many law firms who advise major businesses are now recommending that their clients incorporate accessibility into their public-facing websites and other products; and
 
Whereas, it has been reported that companies seeking accessibility expertise have encountered shortages in the availability of personnel with the requisite skills and training needed to fulfill their accessibility-related hiring goals and public commitments; and
 
Whereas, many blind people who utilize technology have acquired familiarity with computer technology and experience understanding and overcoming accessibility barriers and issues; and
 
Whereas, many of these persons, though possessed of considerable practical knowledge and experience, do not have the formal education or professional résumés that would make them attractive or obvious candidates for mainstream technology employment; and
 
Whereas, many of these people could, with intensive training and support, be equipped with the augmented skills needed to fill good-paying accessibility-related positions in industry; and
 
Whereas, ACB, through its establishment of cooperative, mutually beneficial relationships with leading technology companies, has helped to foster technology awareness and to achieve greater accessibility throughout our nation; and
 
Whereas, ACB’s fruitful relationships with leading technology companies puts ACB in an ideal position to work with these companies in identifying, training and placing suitable blind and visually impaired persons in professional technology positions related to and going beyond accessibility; and
 
Whereas, many ACB members and others who are blind or have visual impairments have already achieved financially and personally rewarding professional careers in accessibility-related and other technology-related positions in industry, demonstrating in the process that their unique understanding of the issues gives them great advantages in addressing the subject; and
 
Whereas, the simultaneous existence, on the one hand, of under- or unemployed, computer-literate, accessibility-aware blind persons, and on the other hand of unfilled, professional, accessibility-related developer, coder, tester, and other accessibility-related positions throughout commerce, industry and government, creates a natural and mutually beneficial fit;
 
Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 8th day of July, 2016, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Minneapolis, Minnesota, that this organization establish a high-level committee, in consultation with industry and utilizing the relationships that ACB has assiduously and productively built up over the years, to explore the feasibility of creating an intensive training academy designed:

  • To train and otherwise equip suitable persons with no or limited vision for mainstream technology careers;
  • To assure that curricula and technology used in such training are optimally selected to meet current and foreseeable industry needs;
  • To assure that applicants acquire not only the necessary technical skills but, where needed, the fullest understanding of the organizational, social and other features, expectations and stresses of the modern high-pressure corporate environment;
  • To provide an appropriate stipend for all trainees, including benefits counseling where necessary; and
  • To offer placement and post-placement assistance in conjunction with the employer so as to maximize the prospects of each individual’s success.

Adopted.
 
Ray Campbell, Secretary