Job-hunting isn’t what it used to be! Back when I started out in the workforce, looking for a job meant picking up the phone to ask about job openings, and mailing (yes, snail mailing, with a stamp) paper copies of my resume and cover letter. But times have certainly changed.
Today, everything seems to be happening online. Most people find and apply for job openings online. Some companies even conduct pre-employment assessments on the web and remote interviews before they ever meet a job candidate in person—if they do at all.
As a person who is blind, I know how challenging this new reality can be—particularly if websites, forms and pre-employment tests are not accessible or compatible with my screen reader, which reads me the text on my computer screen. And the challenges certainly don’t stop at visual disabilities.
You probably know what I mean if you’re a person with learning or attention difficulties and a job application system times out on you; or a person who is deaf encountering an uncaptioned instructional video; or a veteran with mobility issues navigating the web with a touchpad. Put simply, inaccessible technology prevents many qualified individuals from getting inside the digital employment door. What’s more, many employers are simply unaware of this issue.
To gain insight, shed light and spur action on this important issue, ODEP’s Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology is conducting a nationwide survey about the accessibility of online job applications and other related systems. If you’re a technology user with a disability, or any type of limitation that affects your use of computers and technology, who has recent experiences with looking for a job online, we want to hear from you. Please take a few minutes to complete PEAT’s online survey by Jan. 15, 2015.
We’re looking for a broad range of users to take the survey, so please also share it with others you know. The results, which will be posted on PEATworks.org, will help focus and support our work with employers and technology providers to improve the accessibility of their online job systems.
And don’t forget that there are other ways to collaborate with PEAT. You can post a comment to the PEAT blog, subscribe to updates, engage on social media, and share your personal technology experiences and recommendations. We know that with your feedback and collaboration, we can ensure job opportunities that are accessible to all people.
We can’t wait to hear from you!
Kathy Martinez is the assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy.