[Athen] Microsoft Will Help Launch a New Association for Accessibility Professionals

Prof Norm Coombs norm.coombs at gmail.com
Thu Dec 19 08:10:43 PST 2013

I just picked this announcement up and feel it is relevant to ATHEN members....

Microsoft Will Help Launch a New Association for Accessibility Professionals

<http://blogs.msdn.com/3857/ProfileUrlRedirect.ashx>Daniel Hubbell - MSFT
17 Dec 2013 7:11 AM

Picture of Rob Sinclair

This blog post was written by Rob Sinclair, Microsoft's Chief
Accessibility Officer. Rob is responsible for the company's worldwide
strategy to develop software and services that make it easier for
people of all ages and abilities to see, hear, and use their computers.


Last month, I joined the founding members of the International
Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP) in a meeting where
we discussed the next steps to create an association and transform
accessibility into a globally recognized and respected profession.

In March, we will take one of our biggest steps by formally launching
the Association. So far, accessibility has developed at a grassroots
level, hindered by an inconsistent approach to training as well as
the absence of certifications and an established career path for
engineers to follow from higher education into the workplace.

This new association will begin solving these challenges by creating
a global community for people and organizations working in
accessibility to share expertise and resources, support one another's
work, and follow developments in this fast-changing field. As part of
this effort, the group will develop training materials, webinars and
other educational resources and point people to the wealth of
existing industry resources. All of this will lead to IAAP developing
professional certifications to help individuals demonstrate their
level of expertise in one or more aspects of accessibility and help
them keep that expertise current. Overall, the association's goal is
to help elevate the level of expertise held by the growing number of
people, around the world, who are designing or authoring content,
media, software, devices, and more.

Perhaps most importantly, the association is an effort to create a
stronger sense of profession in a field of frequently self-taught
practitioners. It will help those working full-time in accessibility
as well as those that only include it as part of their jobs. It will
support companies and organizations by helping their leaders
understand how to build a successful accessibility program and
develop the organizational capacity needed to deliver accessibility solutions.

We have a lot to do in the next three months including the creation
of an accessible infrastructure, including a website, to serve the
association and its members. It also includes beginning work to
develop content, like webinars, and a platform to share insights and
experience from experts in the field. All of this is being achieved
through the contributions of the 23 founding member organizations,
representing five countries, that have committed money, personnel and
materials to help prepare for the IAAP launch.

The window of opportunity to become a Founding Member organization is
quickly closing. If you are interested in contributing to the IAAP in
this leadership capacity, or if you simply have a question or
suggestion, please send us mail at
<mailto:info at accessibilityassociation.org>info at accessibilityassociation.org.

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