Federal Agencies Partner To Make Electronic and Information Technology Accessible to People with Disabilities
April 12, 2000
Contact: Eleni Martin (202) 501-1231
Washington, DC -- The federal government's efforts to make technology accessible to people with disabilities will be the focus of a series of free events to be held April 17 - 21 during the FOSE conference.
The events are sponsored by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), in partnership with an interagency group of federal agencies including the Departments of Education, Justice, Defense, the Census Bureau, and Social Security Administration.
An industry forum will be held at the Grand Hyatt (across from the Convention Center) on Monday, April 17 from 12:30-5:00 pm. Educational sessions, exhibits, and an accessibility �playroom' will be held in conjunction with the FOSE conference at the Convention Center.
"Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act tasks GSA to provide technical assistance to federal agencies on making technology accessible to people with disabilities," said Thurman Davis, GSA Deputy Administrator and Chairman of the U. S. Architectural and Transportion Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board). "GSA serves as the federal coordinator for the cooperative interagency team working on making electronic and information systems accessible. The events during FOSE are the first of many outreach efforts that GSA has planned with Federal agencies, industry and the disability community to help them understand how Section 508 will affect them."
"A world wired for the Information Age presents a new frontier for accessibility, " stated Lawrence W. Roffee, Executive Director of the Access Board. "Under section 508 and the Board's standards, once finalized and added to the procurement regulations, the Federal government will be on the forefront in ensuring access to electronic and information technology for people with disabilities."
Section 508 requires that all Federal agencies when they develop, procure, maintain, or use technology to ensure that this it is accessible to people with disabilities. The Access Board, an independent Federal agency, published the proposed standards for accessibility in the Federal Register on March 31. After the 60 day comment period, the Board will review the comments and revise the standards if necessary. The final standards will become part of the Federal Acquisition Regulation.