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Interagency Accessibility Forum to showcase GSA leaders, other experts

| GSA Blog Team
Post filed in: Accessibility  |  Equity

A gathering of federal accessibility professionals, developers, designers, project managers, leadership and others will exchange ideas about building a culture of digital accessibility at this week’s 10th annual Interagency Accessibility Forum (IAAF).

Since 2013, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) - with the Federal Chief information Officers’ Council, Accessibility Community of Practice, the US Access Board, and other federal agency partners - has hosted the annual IAAF for agency representatives to learn about federal accessibility policies and how they can promote and implement Section 508 standards to prioritize IT accessibility. 

Presenters, panelists, and keynote speakers have delivered a variety of topics, perspectives, and experiences over the years to conference attendees. However, IAAF goes beyond just notable speakers to include workshops to learn from experts in the field. 

GSA’s Commitment to IT Accessibility

GSA is at the forefront of ensuring that all federal agencies have the guidance and technical assistance to implement IT accessibility best practices and requirements. Deputy Administrator Katy Kale will participate in a Fireside Chat with Accessibility Leaders addressing some of the major changes and efforts in GSA’s Office of Government-wide Policy that make IT accessibility a priority.

Kale will cover new organizational changes, GSA’s congressionally mandated reporting on IT accessibility, and how GSA’s solicitation tools to improve accessibility in information communications technology (ICT) procurement.

“The government’s role is to lead by example, and we’ve been embedding equity and accessibility in all aspects of the federal government,” Kale shared before the event. “Whether that’s by making sure our buildings prioritize universal and flexible design, our digital services are 508 compliant and support assistive technologies, or all of our GSA events have ASL interpreters, GSA is setting a new standard for all people to access the government services they need.”

GSA’s focus on accessibility benefits from a close, long-standing partnership with the U.S. Access Board. Created in 1973, this independent federal agency promotes equality for people with disabilities through the development of physical and digital accessibility guidelines and standards. This includes Section 508 compliance that requires federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities. Deputy Administrator Kale is currently serving as the Board’s Vice Chair, thus strengthening the relationship between GSA and the U.S. Access Board even further.

Digital Accessibility in the Federal Workplace

Federal Chief Information Officer Clare Martorana will moderate a panel of fellow chief information officers on how agency leadership is promoting, prioritizing, and improving digital accessibility in the federal workplace. 

Workshops like “Design PowerPoint Templates for Accessibility,” “Accessible Customer Experience & Shared Services,” and “Creating Accessible PDF Documents with Signatures” will further emphasize not only 508 compliance but building a culture of accessibility. 

Real Talk: A Conversation with Section 508 Program Managers

Section 508 Program Managers are responsible for a wide array of functions ensuring digital accessibility through ICT acquisition, development, electronic content creation, agency policy, compliance enforcement, outreach and training, and much more.

Experienced Section 508 and accessibility managers will share their stories of triumphs and challenges, while also hosting workshops to share best practices on making ICT accessible within your workplace.

The Accessibility-Powered Future of Work

GSA’s Senior Advisor to the Administrator for Equity Andrea M. O’Neal will moderate a panel to close out the event exploring how the federal government can create more inclusive, accessible work environments for people with disabilities. 

"Accessibility is foundational to equity. GSA is advancing a barrier-free workplace where everyone has access to the tools that they need to contribute to our mission. We're also deploying and adopting technologies that are not just 508 compliant, but are also more inclusive and responsive from a user experience perspective," said O'Neal. "We're dedicated to strengthening human-centered digital government so that our Federal colleagues and the communities we serve have an equitable opportunity to fully participate in American life ."

For more information, visit GSA’s Section 508 website