GSA Government-wide Section 508 Accessibility Program

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In January 2017, the U.S. Access Board published a final rule updating accessibility requirements for information and communication technology (ICT) covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

On Thursday, August 10, 2017, the Section 508 Community of Practice (CoP) held its final meeting at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in Arlington, VA. After six years, the NSF is moving to a new location, so future CoP events will be held at the General Services Administration at 1800 F Street NW in Washington, DC.

As a reminder, the biannual OMB Agency 508 Reports are due on August 30, 2017 to feedback@cio.gov . 

There is no change in the reporting requirements from the February 2017 submission.  Both the reporting template and the associated instructions sheet are attached to this message. If you are unable to access the template because of the version of software your agency is using, you can use an older version of the template and  just the data elements identified in the current instructions document.

Here are some updates on the Section 508 Transition Activities underway to centralize guidance, avoid duplication, and streamline the transition to the revised standards. The Access Board, the ACoP, GSA’s Government-wide Section 508 Team, and many of you who are working to help make this transition happen as smoothly as possible.

The Policy and LifeCycle Subgroup is preparing guidance to help agencies update their Section 508/Accessibility policy to reflect the new regulations. Topics include:

  • 508 exceptions;

The Government-wide Section 508 Program at GSA is pleased to recognize Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) today, May 18th. For many of us in the accessibility community, we celebrate the mission of making technology accessible and usable by persons with disabilities in both our lives and work.

Read more about Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2017!

In today’s competitive job market, it’s important to recruit from a large and strong candidate pool.  The GSA Government-wide IT Accessibility Program would like to call to your attention the work of the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT). PEAT helps employers find and recruit the best talent by using accessible e-Recruiting. PEAT, a part of the United States Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, promotes the employment, retention and career advancement of people with disabilities.

The General Services Administration, the CIO Council Accessibility Community of Practice (ACoP), and the US Access Board have teamed up to guide federal agencies through implementing the New 508 Standards consistently across government.

According to the World Bank, approximately one billion people worldwide live with a disability, making up the world's largest minority. Designing from an accessibility-first standpoint has the potential to benefit all stakeholders, not just people with disabilities, because accessible design typically delivers a better user experience.

Section 508’s Coordinators are often asked about ways to test technology for accessibility. Over the last year, Microsoft has worked to make this easier for its customers. In particular, they have focused on making trustworthy technology for all employees and customers while also equipping them with information that will help them understand and validate product accessibility.

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