Disability News Service, Resources, Diversity, Americans with Disabilities Act; Local and National.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

GSA Interagency Forum on Section 508 Standards on Accessibility Information Communication Technology (ICT)

 David Capozzi speaking at GSA forum
 David Capozzi
Oct. 17, 2017 - The General Services Administration (GSA) held an interagency forum on accessibility to information and communication technology (ICT) on October 13 at its national headquarters in Washington, D.C. The full-day event focused on the refreshed Section 508 Standards issued by the U.S. Access Board in January which apply to ICT procured, developed, maintained, or used by federal agencies. The Access Board and several other agencies partnered with GSA in conducting the event, including the Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Homeland Security. It attracted over 350 attendees from government, industry, and advocacy.

The day started off with welcoming remarks from Dominic Sale, Deputy Associate Administrator for GSA's Office of Information, Integrity & Access and a keynote address by Access Board Executive Director David Capozzi.

"Although section 508 only applies to the federal government, its impact has been felt in state governments, the private sector, and around the world," Capozzi noted. "Last year, the U.S. government spent about $80 billion on ICT; when you can harness that purchasing power to drive accessibility, progress is bound to happen."

Capozzi recounted the history of Section 508 and called attention to its global effects. "The European Union now has a new set of ICT accessibility standards – modeled after our updated section 508 standards; Australia is using public procurement to drive accessible technology; and, Canada is developing a new law that will address public procurement of ICT as well," he stated. "The world is paying attention to what we do here."

The forum featured a series of workshops organized into tracks on ICT development, agency policy, and the revised 508 Standards. Representatives from the Access Board and other agencies conducted the sessions which addressed different aspects of Section 508 and the standards, including major changes in the updated standards, how the standards apply to federal acquisitions, IT development contracts and the IT lifecycle, revisions to federal agency Section 508 policies, testing methods and other topics. The event also provided an opportunity to publicize new tools and resources, including a "Toolkit" on the revised 508 standards developed by an interagency transition team and the Information Technology Industry Council's recent release of an updated Voluntary Product Accessibility Template which businesses can use to document product conformance with the revised standards.

For further information on the Section 508 Standards, visit the U.S. Access Board's website and GSA's section508.gov website. 

No comments: