Is Technology the Great Equalizer?

Blind person using computer

Most of us are able to access a myriad of information and training opportunities through the effective use of communication technology. Some members of our respective communities, however, are not able to access the same information and training opportunities because the technology is, for them, inaccessible.

The issue of accessibility to training, development, and employment is a huge barrier for persons with disabilities.  In many cases, this barrier can be eliminated through effective modifications or enhancements of technology, so that persons with disabilities can access training programs provided by technology-based delivery platforms and devices. When individuals who are disabled are given the tools to access training programs, they are able to access the future, just like everyone else.

Recently, a successful training program for persons with vision loss or who are blind, was implemented in South Africa.

Read an article on the training program

It is interesting to note that the resources used to provide training to persons who are blind or partially sighted are already available through Apple touch technologies. This availability knocks down a second barrier that gets in the way of hiring persons with disabilities. These technologies are not only available, they are also affordable. No longer do employers have to argue about the cost considerations involved in providing modified or adapted equipment for persons with disabilities. The technology is in itself adapted and modified to fit multiple employee needs without additional cost.

With accessibility and affordability obstacles out of the way, a disabled person who is trained in the effective use of technology should have fewer barriers preventing them from their rightful access to equal employment.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Identify three different types of accessibility functions that are available on your own personal technology devices. How do these accessibility functions assist persons who may be partially sighted?
  2. What types of technology based training programs do you think can be modified easily for persons with disabilities?
  3. As an HR Practitioner, how will you ensure that your workplace training programs are accessible to employees with disabilities?

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