Play 12: Educate the workforce

An understanding of accessibility and Section 508 compliance should be an essential component of agency workforce development.   Increasing the awareness of the needs of people with disabilities, as well as agency legal requirements to address those needs, is an important step towards gaining the support and cooperation from agency staff to implement a mature Section 508 Program.

Key Questions

  • What accessibility training is currently offered by your organization?
  • How effective is your training at informing the workforce of agency Section 508 policies and procedures, and how to make technology accessible?
  • What training is mandatory?  How do you track mandatory training participation?

Basic Checklist

  • Assess current accessibility training offerings.
  • Identify and prioritize missing training offerings. Consider the following:
    • Training for general staff on disability awareness, the Section 508 Standards and agency accessibility policy,
    • Training for designers and usability specialists on how to incorporate the needs of people with disabilities into information architecture,  visual design, and usability testing,
    • Training for developers and electronic content authors on how to develop accessible websites, applications, eLearning courses, recorded and live video, electronic forms and documents,
    • Training for project and product managers on how to address accessibility in development life cycles, agile processes, and product management,
    • Training for acquisition professionals on how to incorporate Section 508 requirements into acquisition activities,
    • Training for testers on how to test for Section 508 conformance, and
    • Training for help desk personnel on how to troubleshoot reported accessibility issues.
  • Develop/obtain/provide accessibility training to address core needs.  Ensure your accessibility training conforms to the Section 508 standards. Utilize the training resources provided through the CIO Council Accessibility Community of Practice, Section 508.gov, and other government agencies to fill gaps where possible.
  • Develop an Accessibility Training Plan to define who should receive training and when training must be mandatory.  Identify when and how you will make new training available and how you will track and enforce participation.
  • Develop and publish a training calendar and communicate training offerings to agency management and employees.
  • Pursue “train the trainer” options to increase scalability where instructor led training is required.
  • Track employees who take training.
  • Request employee feedback on training to gauge effectiveness.

Advanced Checklist

  • Provide advanced training to Section 508 Program Team members.
  • Certify 508 web and software testers as knowledgeable, through documented methodologies such as the DHS Trusted Tester Certification program.
  • Use metrics to review training activities, gauge acquisition of topics supported by learning activities, analyze for trends, and systematically use the data to determine how to improve accessibility training.

Resources