Tapping into a new pool of workers

Technological innovations are closing the gap between physical limitations and productivity and a significant, untapped workforce is looking for job opportunities.

There are many wonderful assistive-technologies now available that ease access and increase productivity.  From video-descriptions to screen readers, technology is encouraging people with disabilities into the workforce and integrating them further into society.

Accessibility experts and executives from corporations such as IBM, Yahoo, Internet Speech, Deque Systems and e-ISOTIS are already telling us about new products such as the latest and greatest speech recognition software, assisted-listening devices, real-time translators, keyboard filters and alternative input devices which enable individuals to operate computers without using standard keyboards or mouses.

These tools, which are designed to enable employees with disabilities to overcome barriers in the workplace, can help those with hearing, speech, vision and mobility impairments.  Coupled with this, mainstream technology, such as word processing software and operating systems, also have features that can benefit people with disabilities.

And of course, the more companies move toward the paperless office, the more it opens the workplace up to people with mobility impairments.

One of the greatest perceived barriers to implementing assistive technology is cost. But a study by the US’ Job Accommodation Network (JAN) has revealed that 15 percent of assistive accommodations cost nothing, 51 percent cost between $1 and $500, 12 percent cost between $501 and $1,000, and 22 percent cost more than $1,000.

The digital divide still exists between people with disabilities and those who are non-disabled, but the Web has the ability to be even more accessible than other parts of society.

Let’s work together to ensure that accessible technology continues to advance and that our workplaces are flexible and open enough to consider using the tools to harness the untapped potential of a new pool of talented workers.


1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Anonyumous said,

    AbilityHub is a good resource about assistive technologies. See http://abilityhub.com/

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