When you look at this hashtag, what do you see?

You may see the word “ally”.

As it relates to disability employment and inclusion campaigns, this of course refers to a colleague who is supportive of a community, such as the LGBTQ community, the disability community or other diverse groups, but does not designate themselves as a member of that community.

If you follow disability trends on twitter, you could see “a11y” as in #a11y

#a11y is used with social media posts that are related to digital accessibility. It is a term used to represent matters of interest to those on social media who see the benefits of all people being able to consume content and interact with technology. As we decode the hashtag, the initial letter “a” and the final letter “y” surrounds “11” letters, in this case “ccessibilit”.  Digital Accessibility applies to all technology such as websites, mobile apps, kiosks, documents and more.  Digital accessibility relates to access for all, including people who are blind, deaf, have a mobility disability, a learning disability or intellectual disability, to name a few.

Members of the disability community can only be successful when a workplace is accessible and inclusive.  This means the workplace should be attitudinally accessible, architecturally accessible, and accessible from a technology perspective, #ally.

How can I, a person with a disability, apply for a job with you if your career site is not accessible? How can I, a colleague with a disability independently consume eLearning content, essential for my career development and employment success, if the eLearning modules are not accessible.  Bender’s 35 iDisability eLearning modules were built by people with disabilities, designed to be accessible, and tested to ensure conformance to the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.x.  Now, nearly one million business people on platform are learning about disability employment and inclusion matters using an accessible and responsive eLearning suite of modules.

#a11y and Ally really are perfect partners.

When people in the diversity and inclusion space talk about allies, they are referring to people in their organization who are supportive of a community. Allies are always interested in taking action to advance real results for the community they support.  If you want your company to be known for having a disability friendly culture, then mandate #a11y. #a11y actions speak volumes and resonate with more co-workers than you realize. Remember, you have co-workers with hidden disabilities or who have family members with disabilities. When colleagues with disabilities see a mandate for #a11y, they see an Ally.

Remember, to be a company that includes people with disabilities, you should make the #a11y mandate today! You need #a11y to be an Ally.

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