Not mentioned in this week’s news that included wildfires in the crisis in Syria, is new Department of Labor regulations around hiring people with disabilities. We all know the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is too high. One of the ways the government wants to reduce the rate is by increasing the nationwide employment goal for federal contractors.
What strikes me in the write-up is the self-identification. The invitation to self identify maybe the second biggest challenge, behind the 7%. We all understand it is a difficult call whether to self identify. One of the blessings of being a quadruple amputee, is that I didn’t have to make that decision later on in my career. My decision came during the resume and interview period of time. If these regulations had been in place 20 years ago, it would’ve been easier for me to find a job with the government contractor. It will help people.
One of the challenges though, is to get those people already employed today to self identify. It comes back to communication. Recently, a good friend of mine Corey Jamison suggested I read the book written by Arbinger titled Leadership and Self-Deception. Without spoiling the end, the gist of the book is how we communicate with one another. It is very important how we communicate with each other in business. As a person with a disability, we learn how to communicate with one another on a different level. Because we feel others will see us as limited due to disability, we enhance our communication skills. The examples in this book of education illustrate how I have always felt I have communicated with people in business as a person with a disability.
Building a place people with disabilities can communicate comfortably with each other as well as our employer – is vital to success!
As we meet the challenges of the new 503 regulations, we can support our communications ability amongst ourselves as people with disabilities. We can create a friendly environment to be able to be present with one another or as Arbinger might say “in the box.” We can build an environment where people with disabilities can self identify. It starts by sharing stories with one another of other successful people who self identify and are happily employed.
For more information on how Our Ability can assist your communication – please contact John.
August 27th – The Final Rule will be published in the Federal Register shortly and is effective 180 days after its publication. However, current contractors with a written affirmative action program (AAP) already in place on the effective date have additional time to come into compliance with the AAP requirements. The compliance structure seeks to provide contractors the opportunity to maintain their current AAP cycle.
Highlights of the Final Rule:
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We firmly believe that the internet should be available and accessible to anyone, and are committed to providing a website that is accessible to the widest possible audience, regardless of circumstance and ability.
To fulfill this, we aim to adhere as strictly as possible to the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 (WCAG 2.1) at the AA level. These guidelines explain how to make web content accessible to people with a wide array of disabilities. Complying with those guidelines helps us ensure that the website is accessible to all people: blind people, people with motor impairments, visual impairment, cognitive disabilities, and more.
This website utilizes various technologies that are meant to make it as accessible as possible at all times. We utilize an accessibility interface that allows persons with specific disabilities to adjust the website’s UI (user interface) and design it to their personal needs.
Additionally, the website utilizes an AI-based application that runs in the background and optimizes its accessibility level constantly. This application remediates the website’s HTML, adapts Its functionality and behavior for screen-readers used by the blind users, and for keyboard functions used by individuals with motor impairments.
If you’ve found a malfunction or have ideas for improvement, we’ll be happy to hear from you. You can reach out to the website’s operators by using the following email
Our website implements the ARIA attributes (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) technique, alongside various different behavioral changes, to ensure blind users visiting with screen-readers are able to read, comprehend, and enjoy the website’s functions. As soon as a user with a screen-reader enters your site, they immediately receive a prompt to enter the Screen-Reader Profile so they can browse and operate your site effectively. Here’s how our website covers some of the most important screen-reader requirements, alongside console screenshots of code examples:
Screen-reader optimization: we run a background process that learns the website’s components from top to bottom, to ensure ongoing compliance even when updating the website. In this process, we provide screen-readers with meaningful data using the ARIA set of attributes. For example, we provide accurate form labels; descriptions for actionable icons (social media icons, search icons, cart icons, etc.); validation guidance for form inputs; element roles such as buttons, menus, modal dialogues (popups), and others. Additionally, the background process scans all of the website’s images and provides an accurate and meaningful image-object-recognition-based description as an ALT (alternate text) tag for images that are not described. It will also extract texts that are embedded within the image, using an OCR (optical character recognition) technology. To turn on screen-reader adjustments at any time, users need only to press the Alt+1 keyboard combination. Screen-reader users also get automatic announcements to turn the Screen-reader mode on as soon as they enter the website.
These adjustments are compatible with all popular screen readers, including JAWS and NVDA.
Users can also use shortcuts such as “M” (menus), “H” (headings), “F” (forms), “B” (buttons), and “G” (graphics) to jump to specific elements.
We aim to support the widest array of browsers and assistive technologies as possible, so our users can choose the best fitting tools for them, with as few limitations as possible. Therefore, we have worked very hard to be able to support all major systems that comprise over 95% of the user market share including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Opera and Microsoft Edge, JAWS and NVDA (screen readers), both for Windows and for MAC users.
Despite our very best efforts to allow anybody to adjust the website to their needs, there may still be pages or sections that are not fully accessible, are in the process of becoming accessible, or are lacking an adequate technological solution to make them accessible. Still, we are continually improving our accessibility, adding, updating and improving its options and features, and developing and adopting new technologies. All this is meant to reach the optimal level of accessibility, following technological advancements. For any assistance, please reach out to