Perspectives on National Disability Employment Awareness Month, October 2022  

Disability Employment - Calling UC Tech Innovators to Join the Conversation during Oct 2022 National Disability Employment Awareness Month

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM, pronounced “n-deam”). All members of the University of California (UC) technology community are encouraged to participate to expand our understanding of disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of past, present and future workers with disabilities. Awareness and collaboration will be critical to driving forward-momentum at the university and much-needed change across the Higher Education Information Technology (IT) overall. 

Why now? 

According to The Higher Education IT Workforce Landscape, 2019 report issued by Educause, around 8% of the Higher Education IT workforce reports a diagnosed disability or impairment. This is half (50%) of the rate of other industries. The cause of this discrepancy, according to the analysis, is that the sector “fails at meeting the accessibility requirements for their employees, especially for basic accommodations such as the provision of accessible websites and electronic and information technology (EIT) procurement.”  

Moving the Needle 

Educause recommends that Higher Education IT works to “establish and maintain an inclusive and equitable culture for those with disabilities or impairments.”  

An equitable culture for this community is built on relationships, training, tools and an environment that breeds conversation and innovation.  But, knowing that, what happens next?

“Disability: Part of the Equity Equation”The 2022 theme deserves deep consideration

In the spirit of deep consideration of the thought-provoking 2022 theme, the UC IT blog team enjoyed exchanging perspectives with Joshua Hori, accessible technology coordinator at UC Davis. Please share your views with the UC IT Blog team here.

“The methods we have today are ‘paper and pencil’ compared to what we could do if we looked at the issue through the lens of diversity. My vision? That augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) would be available to all, even to those who can’t use a keyboard or a mouse. Technology that works for a diverse community – with many different needs – works better for everyone.” 

Joshua Hori, accessible technology coordinator of the UC Davis Information and Educational Technology (IET) and Academic Technology Services (ATS) teams
Joshua Hori
Joshua Hori, accessible technology coordinator, UC Davis

In the spirit of conversation and collaboration on this important topic this month and beyond, the UC IT community is hosting events that address customer and employee accessibility. This week, for example, UCSF kicked off National Disability Employee Awareness Month (NDEAM) and National Cyber Security Awareness Month with a highly informative panel discussion covering the complex and critical intersection between disability and cyber security. The panel, including the person who had authored one such policy, encouraged the community to learn more about both UC Information Technology Accessibility Policy and UC Electronic Information Security.  by reading these straight-forward documents online. 

Upcoming Accessibility Events

Next, please consider attending/hosting events honoring National Disability Employment Awareness month, including those at UC Davis on October 12, 2022 (listed below).  

UC Davis Campus Air Filtration* 

Wednesday, October 12, 11 am – 12 noon 
Disability Awareness Symposium / UC Davis 
Speaker: UC Davis Facilities Management 
+For UC Davis immune compromised individuals to learn more about the air quality on campus 

Tactile Audio Campus Map, or TAC Map 

Wednesday, October 12, 12 noon – 1 pm 
Disability Awareness Symposium / UC Davis 
Speaker: Touch Graphics 

Apple Accessibility 

Wednesday, October 12, 1 – 2 pm 
Disability Awareness Symposium / UC Davis 
Speaker: Apple 

Recent Accessibility News

Navigating the Campus by Interactive, Tactile Map 
UC Davis News 
October 4, 2022 
UC Davis’ Design department and Student Disability Center collaborated with Touch Graphics to create a Tactile Audio Campus (TAC) Map. A 3D printed map that sits on top of an interactive touchscreen announces buildings touched, with captions in the lower left-hand corner of the map.

Checking in with LibreTexts Accessibility Checker 
September 26, 2022 
UC Davis won the Libretext grant to create Online Educational Resources (OER) textbooks and make them accessible. We have implemented a new Accessibility Checker into Libretext. The checker will make it easier to make content accessible, guiding the author on fixes.  

Accessibility Matters: Take 5 Actions 
UC IT Blog 
September 14, 2022 
The day-to-day choices technologists make have a significant impact on the people who use our digital environments, including those with disabilities. This article, based on a recent webinar on the topic, suggests five ways to connect the daily work of technologists to an important UC policy and to civil rights laws intended to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities. This work is inseparably linked to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), and lies at the heart of our ability to foster an inclusive community where all people can thrive

Accessibility Resources 

DIY Accessibility Checklists

UC Berkeley

Accessibility Tips & How To’s

UC Berkeley

Accessible Form Instructions (Video)

California Community Colleges Accessibility Center
Date posted: unknown
Advanced developer tips and tricks, including web forms ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) to make inaccessible web elements accessible


Background: National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Held annually in October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (pronounced “n-deam”) is led by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. Employers of all sizes and in all industries are encouraged to participate in NDEAM. The theme this year, “Disability: Part of the Equity Equation.” 

National Disability Employment Awareness Month was created in 1945 by President Truman. In President Joe Biden’s recent National Disability Employment Awareness Month briefing, Presidential Actions on September 30, he says,  “This month, let us acknowledge workers with disabilities who make our communities, our economy, and our Nation stronger.  Let us continue the legacy of generations of disability rights activists who have fought for equal employment opportunities, integrated workplaces, and equal pay for equal work.  Let us deliver the promise of America to all Americans.”  

Blog Shoutouts: Grateful for the expert contributions to this piece by UC Davis Information and Educational Technology (IET) and Academic Technology Services (ATS) team members, Ahna Ligtenberg Heller, communications analyst, and Joshua Hori, accessible technology coordinator, as well as UC Santa Cruz Digital Access and Equity, Information Technology Services Experience Strategy and Design program lead, Jim Phillips.

We welcome the UC IT community, along with those who have a passion for technology, to share your events and news using a simple form, or contact us via email.