The IT Accessibility Committee

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The IT Accessibility Committee

Committee History

The Information Services Policy Board recognized the State's commitment to meeting the needs of its employees and citizens with disabilities and adopted a resolution in January 1998 that fully supported the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regarding reasonable accommodations in the workplace. The Policy Board authorized the establishment of a standing accessibility committee to evaluate and advise the Board regarding technological developments and products to ensure compliance with the ADA and other relevant laws. The subcommittee's charge was broadened in November 1999 and their charter outlined as follows:

ACCESSIBILITY COMMITTEE CHARTER

  • PROPOSE AND MAINTAIN STANDARDS FOR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ACCESSIBILITY
  • EXPAND AND MAINTAIN AN EVALUATION METHODOLOGY FOR CURRENT AND FUTURE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ENDEAVORS
  • PREPARE PERIODIC UPDATES ON TECHNOLOGY, ADA COMPLIANCE, AND OTHER LEGAL REQUIREMENTS
  • COMPLETE AN ANNUAL REPORT ON PREVIOUS YEAR'S ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND PROPOSED FUTURE WORK PLAN
  • WORK IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE ACCESSIBLE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY COORDINATOR ON IDENTIFYING ISSUES AND PROVIDING TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE AND SOLUTIONS


Function of the Committee

The Committee provides oversight to chartered sub-committees and project teams that work in specific areas related to accessibility, while the Chair and Staff perform the administrative tasks related to managing the workflow of the Committee.

The Committee may establish project related work groups to address specific issues identified by the ISPB or the Committee.

The Committee is responsible for designing an ongoing process for membership recruitment, selection and decision making criteria that meet the ISPB policy mandate. The process shall include the review and approval of the ISPB.

This year the Committee has chartered four sub-committees. They are the Membership Sub-committee, who were tasked with reviewing current membership and policies for recruiting new members; the Policy Review Sub-Committee who are in the process of reviewing current IT accessibility policies to see if they should be updated given technology changes since they were put in place; the Procurement Sub-Committee charged with improving contract language related to accessible technology and, most recently, the Accessible Web Design Sub-committee who will be working with agencies to bring web pages into compliance with current policies.

Additionally the Committee has provided oversight and support for multiple projects which are highlighted throughout this report.

"Accessibility is not expensive. Accessibility can be as simple as a touchpad mouse, headset or voice recognition. Accessibility can provide an individual with the ability to be a productive employee adding value to an organization while improving the quality of their own lives."

Laurie Wills, Back to Work Coordinator, Maine Bureau of Human Resources



Committee responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Evaluate current and future technology and workarounds using the testing lab and independent verification and validation.
  • Facilitate accessibility demonstrations of products being considered for purchase or development by Maine State Government.
  • Evaluate national consensus standards to include but not be limited to: software applications and operating systems; web-based Intranet and Internet information and applications; telecommunications products; video and multimedia products; desktop and portable computers; information, documentation and support.
  • Review and stay current with standards being developed by nationally and internationally recognized public and private groups, to ensure they meet Maine's needs and provide recommendations to the ISPB.
  • Maintain and monitor procurement proposal for evaluation criteria in RFPs and vendor contracts.
  • Develop a process for monitoring progress toward information accessibility statewide.
  • Manage, expand and update the accessibility site and links.
  • Provide ongoing information on new products, techniques and other changes related to accessibility in a variety of formats, such as articles in the Maine IS Technology newsletter.
  • Review and stay current with federal and other states' legislation, policies, rules and regulations.
  • Review and provide ongoing lists of accessibility tools and resources.
  • Arrange for and provide information technology accessibility training for State employees, vendors, developers and buyers.
  • Provide technical assistance for Departments as requested.

Committee Membership

The IT Accessibility Committee membership shall include expertise in all of the major disability, accessibility and information technology specialty areas. Major core areas represented on the Committee should include deaf and hard of hearing, blind and visually impaired, mobility and speech impaired and cognitive considerations. Members must have a vested interest in accessibility and represent a broad spectrum of skills and knowledge including legal, policy, national perspective, human resources, purchasing and various technologies.

If I have a question about accessible technology but am not sure who can assist me, who should I call?

If you're not sure of who can provide you with the resources you require, start by contacting Mary K. Silva (mary.silva@maine.gov or 624-7574)in The Office of the Chief Information Officer. As staff for the IT Accessibility Committee, she can provide you with the assistance you need.

Roles as defined by Membership Sub-Committee*

State and Community

Disability Seats

Technology Seats

CIO, Staff Support

Cognitive

Assistive Technology

ISMG Representative

Hearing

Application Development

University System

Mobility

Webmaster/Designer

BIS (Central IT)

Visual

Telecommunications (phone, fax)

Community

Hardware

Vocational Rehabilitation

Division of Purchases

*It's understood that one member may fill more than one role on the committee.


Committee Members

Committee contact: Mary K. Silva 624-7574 or mary.silva@maine.gov

Valton Wood, Bureau of Information Services, DAFS, Committee Chair

Mary K. Silva, Office of the CIO, DAFS - Accessible Information Technology Coordinator for the State of Maine, Staff to the IT Accessibility Committee

Jean Arbour, Division of Purchases, DAFS

Carolyn Bebee, Bureau of Rehabilitation Services, DOL

Barbara Buck, Bureau of Information Services, DAFS

Pauline Lamontagne Esq., Department of Education

Kathleen Powers, Statewide Assistive Tech Project, MaineCITE Coordinating Center, University College, University of Maine System

Richard Thompson, Division of Purchases, DAFS

Floyd White, Bureau of Information Services, DAFS

Gilbert Whitmore, ISMG member, Department of Education

Laurie Wills, Back to Work Coordinator, Employment Services, DAFS

Jan DeVinney, Rehabilitation Services, DOL-New member joining team in October

"It is a paradox that technology is sometimes the "savior" that solves one person's access issues, while creating new access issues for someone else. The GUI opened the world of computing for people with cognitive disabilities, and created a world of trouble for people who are blind. Beware lest you open the door for one person and let it shut in the next person's face."

Joyce Kennedy, Jericho Consulting

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