An important part of supporting self-determination is ensuring that the job seeker has the needed accommodations that protect their health. For many, that might be a request to work from home, have access to additional protective equipment, or work in a part of the facility less exposed to the public. Employers play an important role in providing the accommodations, but job developers can support the request and identification of an appropriate accommodation.
Where work-from-home opportunities are available, accessible technology plays a critical role in supporting the employee from home. In the recently released Flatten Inaccessibility research report (afb.org/flatteninaccessibility) on the experiences of over 1,900 blind or low vision adults, more than 50% of the employed respondents reported having concerns about their employment during COVID-19. When procuring new technologies, employers should consider both the customer-facing and employee-facing accessibility features and usability. Employers also should check to ensure that an employee doesn't need new or modified accommodations to work from home and should recognized that many of the same technologies needed in the workplace will also need to be brought home (such as a large monitor or ZoomText license).
Likewise, training for employment, especially when technology is involved, needs to be accessible. Developing a text-based version of training videos that clearly outlines steps for users, including short-cut keys for those using screen reader technology and a description of where to find icons, buttons, and other visual aspects of the tool for those with low vision, will allow greater ease of use and higher productivity. Presenters should be aware that not all attendees will access the tools in the same way and should provide alternative access methods.
Finally, the concern with health may not extend only to the workplace. Job developers can support employees with finding appropriate transportation that is safe, reliable, and affordable to support attendance at the workplace.