Now hiring: accessibility leaders in public and private sectors

Topics:

  • Private Sector
  • Public Sector
  • Accessible Hiring

Location:

  • United States

Driving the news- Massachusetts hires its first IT Accessibility Officer:

Massachusetts becomes the fourth state in the U.S. to establish a Chief IT Accessibility Officer position, aimed at enhancing and promoting digital accessibility and equity state-wide.  According to the National Association of State Chief Information Officers, at least 15 states have a digital accessibility focused role, although the exact title and structure varies. Some examples are:

  • Maine’s Digital Accessibility Coordinator
  • Minnesota’s Chief Information Accessibility Officer
  • New Hampshire’s Director of User Experience
  • Pennsylvania’s Chief Accessibility Officer
  • Texas’s Statewide Digital Accessibility Program Administrator

Private sector parallel: 

A growing number of companies recognize the importance of inclusivity in digital environments. This recognition has led to the creation of various roles dedicated to ensuring digital products and services are accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities. 

Titles such as Digital Accessibility Specialist, Web Accessibility Manager, Digital Accessibility Partner, Chief Accessibility Officer, and Accessibility Compliance Analyst are becoming more common. These professionals are tasked with evaluating, enhancing, and leading initiatives in the accessibility of websites, software, and mobile applications. 

Accessibility ownership – why it matters:

Companies like Microsoft, Google, IBM, and Apple, known for their commitment to inclusivity, often have entire teams dedicated to digital accessibility, highlighting the sector’s growing emphasis on making digital spaces welcoming for all users. Given the scale of these companies, there are also dedicated accessibility staff within the various business units.

At mid-size companies with an online presence but lean marketing teams, it’s important to understand legal requirements and be aware of where accessibility gaps exist on websites and in products. It may make sense for the role in charge of the website to be in charge of web accessibility, too. 

For many smaller companies, digital accessibility efforts are still in their infancy, and they may have not yet recognized the need and effectiveness of having an individual with ownership of the company’s digital initiatives.

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