- Report Published -
|An Action Plan Prescribing Renewed Partnerships among the Center for Information Technology, the Department of Information Technology and the Disability Services Agencies|
|Secretary of Health and Human Resources; Secretary of Technology|
|HJR 218 (Regular Session, 2002)|
|The proposed response to the major issues addressed in this study and the proposed Inter-Governmental Agency Agreement (Appendix B) will increase awareness of the assistive and information technology needs of Virginians with disabilities, encourage researchers and product developers to consider people with disabilities as a potential market, and ensure that Virginians with disabilities have access to the same information as other citizens. Members of the study group believe that the issues can be resolved without a major investment of the Commonwealth's resources. In fact, through the successful collaboration of the partners, the Commonwealth will be uniquely positioned to pursue alternative funding. The proposed response will ensure compliance with federal standards for information technology access, and support implementation of "a customer-facing internet portal" as articulated in the Governor's Strategic Plan for Technology Plan.|
• Limited resources available to address the assistive and information technology needs of Virginians with disabilities.
• Lack of coordination and collaboration to address these needs.
• Researchers and product developers are not aware of the unique needs of persons with disabilities.
• Some manufacturers and researchers do not have access to users of assistive technology to field test devices and products.
• The number of assistive technology manufacturers in Virginia is limited.
• A standard for accessibility of information technology has not been adopted by the Commonwealth.
• A program for determining if state entities are providing accessible information does not exist.
• Although legislation exists that recognizes nonvisual access to information technology, it does not include all people with disabilities.
• State entities are not aware of their obligations to provide accessible information technology.
• Information technology acquisitions of telecommunications and information technology goods and services do not include terms and conditions related to accessibility for people with disabilities, except for nonvisual access.
Recommendations from the study include:
1. The partnerships established through the Inter-Governmental Agency Agreement will pursue joint ventures through collaborative grant proposals, potential-research endeavors and public awareness initiatives.
2. The Secretaries of Technology and Health and Human Services will provide oversight to the Inter-Governmental Agency Agreement to ensure that, objectives are met.
3. The Disability Services Agencies will provide technical assistance and training to researchers and product developers to better understand the needs of Virginians with disabilities.
4. The Disability Services Agencies will identify and provide a pool of users of assistive technology to field test devices and products for the researchers and Virginia manufacturers.
5. Virginia's Center for Innovative Technology will continue to advance the Commonwealth's position as a world technology and Internet leader and assist in creating, retaining and attracting technology-based jobs, businesses, and manufacturers of assistive technology to the Commonwealth.
6. The Secretary of Technology will invoke his authority under § 2.2-226 (B)(3) of the Code of Virginia, as Chief Information Officer (CIO) to promulgate policies, standards, specifications and guidelines consistent with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, as the standard for accessibility of information technology in the Commonwealth.
7. The Department of Technology Planning will develop a program for determining whether state agencies, institutions or political subdivisions of the Commonwealth are compliant with these policies, standards, specifications and guidelines. It is recommended that for those entities who are out of compliance, that the CIO further invoke his authority under § 2.2-226 (B) (2) of the Code of Virginia, and require that they submit a plan and schedule for compliance.
8. The Terms and Conditions as specified in the Agency Procurement and Surplus Property Manual (APSPM), will be modified to include a requirement that all acquisitions of telecommunications and information technology goods and services meet all statutory requirements and technology standards adopted by the Commonwealth.
9. Consideration should be given to expanding upon the Information Technology Access Act by amending § 2.2-3504 of the Code of Virginia to ensure accessibility of information technology for all Virginians with disabilities. (Appendix C recommended amendments)
10. The Disability Service Agencies and the Department of Technology Planning will work with VIPNet to implement a customer-facing Internet portal by creating common web site design templates for state agencies that comply with and exceed all accessibility and usability standards and a common look, feel, and navigation for all agency Web sites.
11. In collaboration with the Department of Technology Planning, the Disability Services Agencies will provide training and technical assistance and disseminate information on the obligations of these state entities to provide accessible information technology.
12. The Disability Services Agencies will establish assessment procedures for compliance of information technology access, and provide technical assistance to state entities.
13. The Acquisition Services Division of the Department of Technology Planning will ensure that all acquisitions of telecommunications and information technology goods and services meet all statutory requirements and technology standards adopted by the Commonwealth.