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AST Leaders Spoke to Government Leaders at Multiple National Disability Employment Awareness Month Events

By: Aylin Dunham
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Employees who feel understood are 4.6 times more likely to be empowered to perform their best work. Understanding and meeting the needs of employees with disabilities has become more front and center in October as part of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM).

AST’s leaders aimed to drive awareness for disability needs and solutions to meet them by delivering several presentations to government entities throughout the month. AST leaders shared valuable knowledge about video accessibility technologies like captioning and audio-to-text transcription that enable effective communication for employees with disabilities.

Government organizations can further support their employees during NDEAM and throughout the year, by providing them with effective tools that allow them to work well and with equity especially in non-traditional or remote environments.

Interagency Accessibility Forum (IAAF)

For NDEAM, the General Services Administration (GSA), which provides technical assistance to Federal agencies looking to implement accessibility practices, had AST leaders speak on IT accessibility and Section 508 policies during its Interagency Accessibility Forum (IAAF).

AST presented to an exclusive audience of leaders at government entities who were unfamiliar with the value of tools like audio description or live captioning that serve individuals with hearing or vision-related disabilities.

“It was a pleasure and a delight to observe how the audience reacted to these services and tools, which were new to some,” says Margaret Alexandra, Customer Success Manager, AST.

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America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion Event

The Technology & Accessible Resources Give Employment Today (TARGET) Center, which provides resources for employers of individuals with disabilities, partnered with AST for their virtual event held in Washington, DC. They held exclusive events throughout the month for entities interested in learning more about disability trends, initiatives and technologies that are helping support employees with disabilities.

AST’s workshop provided participants with strategies on how to leverage captions, audio descriptions and accessible interactive video players to help make video WCAG 2 and Section 508 compliant.

California Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) Virtual Fair

The California Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) held a virtual vendor fair for California entities where AST leaders presented on key insights and trends occurring in the captioning industry. DOR’s mission is to support employment, independence and equality in programs and services offered to California entities.

Participants were able to learn about different captioning tools in the market that others are using to support Deaf and hard of hearing individuals.

“When explaining how captioning worked, they were surprised by how many of these tools are available and how much they help improve the lives of so many different communities,” said Alexandra. “It was a very rewarding experience.”

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Continuing to Educate Leaders on Employees’ Disability Needs

17.9% of people with disabilities were employed in 2020. To improve employment practices and drive employment numbers up for individuals with disabilities, government entities and organizational leaders can take small steps to make their work environments more accessible to them. Ensuring videos being shared with these employees in training sessions and daily are accessible with technologies like those offered by AST is a great place to start.

AST is helping support government organizations like the GSA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reach Section 508 compliance with effective video tools and can easily partner with your business to do the same.