Room with many rows of tables. On each table there are several computer screens next to each others. A man sits in front of one of the computer screens and looks at it. The screen is turned on.

The first in-person workshop of the Teach Access initiative happened last April at Yahoo headquarters in California.  

But, what is the Teach Access Initiative? It is a collaboration effort between several high tech companies, universities and disability advocates aiming to make technology more accessible to people with disabilities. This effort was launched last year, at the 25th anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

It is formed by an impressive group: Yahoo, Facebook, Dropbox, Microsoft, Google, LinkedIn, Carnegie Mellon, Georgia Tech, Stanford, edX, AAPD, Project Possibility, among others. See the complete list.

Tech companies recognize that to make accessible technologies more ubiquitous they need a workforce with a basic level of understanding of “accessibility issues, concepts and best practices.”  To obtain that, the Teach Access group is focusing its efforts on four objectives:

  • Enhanced Curricula – Include accessibility and universal design in the curricula of computer science students, designers and researchers.
  • Academic Leadership – Expand study of accessible technology development in higher education.
  • Learning Tools - Build online learning tools that will teach accessibility best practices
  • Industry Initiatives - Modify corporate hiring practices, including, for example, accessibility knowledge and experience in job descriptions.

It is really exciting to see an initiative like this happening.  Future technologies promise to get better and better for people with disabilities.

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