AFB Talent Lab encourages the digital inclusion experts of tomorrow
An innovative new program offers hands-on accessibility and digital inclusion training, mentoring and advising services to IT and design students, adults with disabilities and business partners
WASHINGTON, September 8, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — AFB Talent Lab announced that the first group of participants in its intern and registered apprenticeship programs have completed the first quarter of education requirements and will begin working on projects with partner companies this fall.
Demand for inclusive digital products is growing, but technical designers, engineers, and project managers aren’t trained in accessibility skills. Employers are struggling to find new employees with even basic knowledge and skills related to digital accessibility. AFB Talent Lab is a new educational experience that aims to bridge the accessibility skills gap.
“We are transforming the future of digital inclusion by leveraging our skills to train the next generation of tech talent in inclusive design practices through a hands-on learning environment,” said Matthew Janusauskas, head of AFB Talent Lab. “By meeting the immediate and future needs of an increasingly diverse industry, we can foster a more accessible and equitable digital world.”
AFB Talent Lab helps participants develop skills that will stand out to employers, help adults with disabilities build careers as accessibility project managers, and offer partner organizations advice on how to achieve their accessibility goals. ‘accessibility.
The first group of participants to begin the program this spring included 11 interns and 5 registered apprentices. Curriculum to develop a better understanding and skills in accessibility, including the study of low- and high-tech assistive technologies (such as screen readers), how they affect the quality of people’s lives and how to use and evaluate digital interfaces using these technologies, as well as design for visual accessibility, how to apply testing techniques for different pages and components, and how to recognize and report accessibility issues currents.
“Many computer science and design students are simply not learning the skills they need to make technology usable by everyone, while workforce professionals have been unable to find a appropriate accessibility training to expand their skills,” Janusauskas said. “AFB Talent Lab serves the needs of the tech industry – and millions of people living with disabilities – by creating an expert curriculum and hands-on opportunities, backed by 20 years of proven consulting expertise in LBS accessibility.”
While the lack of accessibility skills in today’s tech workforce isn’t new, the impact is clear. According to a report by the Partnership for Jobs and Accessible Technology (PEAT), 63% of companies said their current workforce lacked sufficient skills in accessible technologies, and 97.4% of the one million websites largest in the world do not offer full accessibility.
“The internship program not only helped me understand the meaning and reason behind the need for a digitally accessible world, but also taught me the fundamental skills to help create one,” said Ramya, intern. in the program. “I am truly grateful for the time, experiences and resources that have gone into this program.”
Applications to join the AFB Talent Lab programs in the summer of 2023 are expected to be available this winter. If you want to learn more, visit https://www.afb.org/talentlab.
If you are a company and would like to learn about partnership opportunities for AFB Talent Lab internship and apprenticeship programs, visit https://www.afb.org/talentlab/support or contact [email protected]org.
About AFB Talent Lab
The AFB Talent Lab aims to meet the accessibility needs of the tech industry – and millions of people living with disabilities – through a unique combination of hands-on training, mentoring and consulting services, created and developed by our own digital inclusion experts. AFB Talent Lab draws on 20 years of AFB expertise in accessibility consulting and digital inclusion. To learn more about our internship and apprenticeship programs or our customer services, visit www.afb.org/talentlab.
About the American Foundation for the Blind
The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) engages leaders, advances understanding, and champions impactful policies and practices using research and data. Editor of the Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness for more than a century, the AFB has also been proud to manage accessibility Archive Helen Keller, honoring the legacy of our most famous ambassador. AFB’s mission is to expand pathways to leadership, education, inclusive technology and career opportunities to create a world without limits for people who are blind, deafblind or visually impaired. To learn more, visit www.afb.org.
SOURCE American Foundation for the Blind