People with disabilities make up 20-25% of our population. 80% of people with disabilities who are of working age are looking for a job. This means that more than likely you have employees who have a disability in your workforce and more people coming into your workforce annually. They may have disabilities you can see or they may have invisible disabilities.
You may ask why accessibility to training is so important? First, it is the law, ADA section 508, which states that federal entities must be accessible. “But I am not a federal entity, so why should I comply?” you ask. Simply, because ADA accessibility lawsuits are on the rise. Businesses in the USA pay an average of $16,000 per ADA settlement. This does not count the cost of fixing the infraction. The cost of fighting the allegation (not settling) is typically four to five times the average $75,000 in annual income generated by the business. (Forbes The ADA Lawsuit Contagion Sweeping U.S. States
But now to the good stuff. Why is it important to have accessible training? There are many reasons! Research shows that companies who recruit and hire employees with disabilities have:
Not to mention, accessible training helps employees who do not have disabilities as well. They can help the second language learner and they help the employee who learns best by hearing information vs seeing it and vice versa, to name a few. So, making your training accessible is beneficial to the growth of your company. Think of accessible training like the curbside ramps at corners. Not only did those ramps help those who use wheelchairs, they also help parents with strollers or pedestrians with rolling carts walking to do errands. One minor change has helped a lot more people than just those who use wheelchairs.
“Accessible” means a person with a disability is afforded the opportunity to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services as a person without a disability in an equally effective and equally integrated manner, with substantially equivalent ease of use. The person with a disability must be able to obtain the information as fully, equally and independently as a person without a disability. (ed.gov)
There are 3 main types of training: In person, online/instructor led, online/self-paced. Your company may use one or all of these types of training. Regardless of the type of training there are four areas of access to consider. These include: Visual, Auditory, Cognitive, Physical
These areas of access can be used across one or more of the three types of training and will help make your training more accessible. Some considerations support more than one area of access and will be noted as such. Remember, you may not think of all aspects the first time around. This is a process that continues as needs arise and technology changes.
Considerations that provide access for more than one area are marked as follows:
The great thing is that there is technology out there to make accessibility for training and beyond easier to accomplish. Texthelp has several tools to help make your training more accessible as well as helping you make your day-to-day work environment more accessible for everyone regardless of ability. Remember, creating an accessible training and work environment for everyone increases productivity and helps your company reach its goals and positions you as a leader in your industry. Discover more about Texthelp solutions.
Amy has extensive experience in the disability community. Having a sister with a disability, being a special education teacher and working in job development and placement, she witnessed the struggle of both prospective employees as well as the employers and has seen the need for company wide training and support. She has seen businesses miss out on the benefits of hiring people with disabilities because they didn’t have the support to overcome the perceived challenges. Through Strategic Employment Solutions she creates a customized experience, from recruiting through training and cultural change, that helps businesses reach their diversity and inclusion goals while overcoming the fears of hiring from the disability community.