Profiles of Technology in the Workplace

Dec 10, 2010
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In today’s workplace, technology seems to be what makes the world go round. Through assistive technology, people with disabilities have been able to achieve the same level of success in the workplace as anyone else. The impact of this technology therefore is drastic, and though we may hear this is the case, or assume that it’s probably the case, it’s nice to find out first-hand how this has happened for someone. Now, through a “Profiles in Technology” video series from the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) TARGET Center, we can now all watch brief stories from the individuals who have directly benefited from assistive technology in the workplace and see just how is has impacted them and their jobs.

In the first installment of the Profiles, we hear from Dr. Denise Decker, an NRCS (National Resources Conservation Services) employee who has a successful career, has travelled the world, and has written a published book about her guide dog, all with the help of assistive technology.

A lot of people have made a point to show that technology is often created without people with disabilities in mind, and though may assist a select few, can actually end up creating unnecessary barriers to millions of other people. Even people directly involved with assistive technology will often suggest that universal design may be more preferable and beneficial to the masses. Check out the website from the Center on Universal Design at http://www.ncsu.edu/www/ncsu/design/sod5/cud/index.htm, ironically housed at my alma mater (Go Wolfpack!) to find out more about making environments and products for all people.

But I figure that a lot of people or companies may not even realize that their computers or other forms of technology aren’t accessible, and it may just be that it could be set up better, maybe even somewhat inexpensively and may therefore make everyone in the office more effective and efficient. The Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center, affectionately called the D(i)BTAC (if spoken phonetically) holds free webinars about how to conduct a workplace computer accessibility assessment. Check it out at https://adagreat.powweb.com/Webinar/AccessibleTechnology/Schedule/ and see if there’s something useful for both you and your employees.

I also encourage people to share their worksite tricks to making technology work for them in what seem to be a unique situation. Word of mouth has power!

Author: Blythe