The conference will take place in Horrabin Hall on the WIU-Macomb campus on Friday February 13rd.

The free conference will give educators an overview of Assistive Technology (AT) and introduce them to augmentative and alternative communications for students with communication disorders. The training will be provided by Infinitec and educators will be able to earn continuing education credits (CEUs) and continuing professional development units (CPDUs).

You can register for the conference and see the agenda online.

This month Jon Goplerud will talk about his work at Work Without Limits.  For more details, see the full listing.

When: Tuesday, February 10, 2015 6:30 PM

Where: IBM Innovation Center
1 Rogers Street
Cambridge, MA 02142

If the changes affect your plans to attend, please take a moment to update your RSVP. (You can RSVP "No" or "Yes".)

AssistiveWare recently announced the release of its latest Mac OS X application, Wrise. It will be formally introduced this week at the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) conference in Orlando, Florida. Wrise is AssistiveWare’s newest addition to its portfolio of assistive technology solutions. The word processor for Mac makes reading and writing accessible for everyone.

Wrise is designed to support reading comprehension and facilitate text composition, which can also be beneficial to people who have dyslexia. Key features include:

  • Text to Speech
  • Word and sentence highlighting
  • Zoom and EasyReading mode
  • Speak as you Type
  • Word prediction and speech tags

Wrise can be used to read selected text out loud in any Mac application. Additionally, it can import several document types, which include:

  • PDF
  • Word (doc/docx)
  • Plain texts
  • RTF

Wrise works with Text to Speech voices in a variety of languages. However, the user interface is currently only available in English. The word processor is available at the Mac App Store. Currently it is offered at an introductory price of $29.99, which will go up to $59.99 on February 15th

Read more about Wrise and download the free trial.

Yesterday, the US Business Leadership Network® (USBLN®) and the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) are pleased to announce that Lockheed Martin joined as a Founding Partner of the USBLN and AAPD's new Disability Equality IndexSM (DEISM), an online tool that offers businesses the opportunity to objectively measure their full inclusion of people with disabilities as employees, suppliers, and customers.

"We are thrilled to have Lockheed Martin join us on this groundbreaking initiative for the business and disability communities," said Jill Houghton, Executive Director of the USBLN. "By joining as a DEI Founding Partner, Lockheed Martin is showcasing their support of disability inclusive practices throughout corporate America," said Mark Perriello, President and CEO of AAPD.

Created by leaders in the business and disability communities, and after the successful completion of the DEI pilot with 48 Fortune 1000 scope companies in March 2014, the first Annual DEI is launching to Fortune 1000 companies this month.

The DEI is a benchmarking tool that offers businesses the opportunity to receive an objective score on their disability inclusion policies and practices, and identify avenues for continued improvement. Companies self-report on a wide-range of criteria within four categories: Culture & Leadership, Enterprise-Wide Access, Employment Practices, and Community Engagement & Support Services.

"At Lockheed Martin, we're committed to strengthening a culture of inclusion that allows employees to bring their entire selves to work every day and encourages them to contribute fully," said Rainia Washington, vice president, Culture, Diversity and Equal Opportunity Programs. "We're looking forward to partnering with DEI on this initiative to help organizations objectively review their disability practices and implement improvements."

Lockheed Martin offers national and regional Leadership Forums that promote professional development, workplace inclusion and drive business results. Each forum is chaired by one or more Lockheed Martin senior executives and provides valuable networking, mentoring and leadership development opportunities. The People with Disabilities Leadership Forum was established in 2012 and aligns to the People with Disabilities Employee Resource Group.

The DEI Founding Partner status is a one-time opportunity exclusive to the first 15 companies that join before December 31, 2015. To date, DEI Founding Partners include American Airlines, Comcast / NBCUniversal, CVS Health, DuPont, GlaxoSmithKline, Lockheed Martin, New Editions Consulting, Inc., Northrop Grumman Corporation, and WellPoint. Companies interested in learning more about becoming a DEI Founding Partner should contact Liz Taub, USBLN Director, Business Relations & Strategic Partnerships.


About the US Business Leadership Network (USBLN)

The US Business Leadership Network (USBLN) is a national non-profit that helps business drive performance by leveraging disability inclusion in the workplace, supply chain, and marketplace. The USBLN serves as the collective voice of nearly 50 Business Leadership Network affiliates across the United States, representing over 5,000 businesses. Additionally, the USBLN Disability Supplier Diversity Program® (DSDP) is the nation's leading third party certification program for disability-owned businesses, including businesses owned by service-disabled veterans.

About the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)

The American Association of People with Disabilities is the nation's largest disability rights organization. AAPD promotes equal opportunity, economic power, independent living, and political participation for people with disabilities. AAPD's members, including people with disabilities and family, friends, and supporters, represent a powerful force for change. To learn more, visit the AAPD Web site.

The US Business Leadership Network's (USBLN®) 17th Annual National Conference & Biz2Biz Expo held at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld hotel on September 29-October 2 was a resounding success with record breaking attendance of over 600 registrants with nearly half as first time conference attendees.

"This conference is vital to our mission to ensure that people with disabilities are fully included and play an integral role in the workplace, supply chain and marketplace. Participants learned innovative disability employment practices; key information on including certified disability-owned businesses in their supply chains; as well as innovative disability marketing strategies from leaders in business and disability employment practice," stated Jill Houghton, Executive Director of the USBLN. "The USBLN is a trusted advisor and the leading voice of business to business, government and the media regarding disability inclusion across the enterprise. We were thrilled to provide our valued attendees with unique opportunities to connect, network, share and learn from their peers throughout our community."

The 2014 program was directed by Workplace Track Chair Belinda Reed Shannon, Vice President, Equality & Inclusion, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK); Supply Chain Track Chair Ronnette Smith, Developmental Club Manager-North Division, Market 20 Upstate New York, Sam's Club; and Marketplace Track Chair Apoorva N. Gandhi, Vice President, Multicultural Affairs, Marriott International, Inc. Our Program Planning Committee Chair was Lori Golden, Abilities Strategy Leader, Americas People Team, Ernst & Young, LLP. The inaugural Disability-Owned Business Enterprise (DOBE®) Host Committee Chair was Joyce A. Bender, Founder and CEO, Bender Consulting Services, Inc. Their dedication to the event directly supports the best practices in the employment, advancement and retention of people with disabilities.

The 2014 USBLN 17th Annual National Conference & Biz2Biz Expo highlights concluded with:

  • Over 30 interactive educational sessions were led by private sector business experts including CEOs at Fortune 500 companies, employers on DiversityInc's 2014 Top 50 List, and representatives from disability employment programs such as EARN, JAN, Ticket to Work, and Vocational Rehabilitation;
  • Attendees enjoyed enhanced networking, industry sectors, international, marketplace, and workplace-focused roundtables, interactive programming plus opportunities to meet USBLN certified Disability-Owned Business Enterprises (DOBE®s);
  • An interview-based Supply Chain Plenary highlighted discussions on Private and Public Sector Procurement, Connecting with Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses (SDVOBs) and Educational Institutions: Influencing Disability-Owned Business Enterprises (DOBE)/SDVOB Growth & Development followed by the announcement of the USBLN certified DOBE "2014 Entrepreneurial Idol" winner Marc Goldman, Principal, Damon Brooks Associates (DBA);
  • The 2014 USBLN Annual Leadership Awards Dinner celebrating Leadership Award recipients that embody the highest ethical standards and disability inclusion values led by Master of Ceremonies, Keith P. Wiedenkeller, Chief People Officer, AMC Theatres, (Retired); President & CEO, Humane Society of Greater Kansas City; Chair, USBLN with the opening song by Jack D. Smith, Founder & President, Charlotte International Partners, Inc. DOBE Host Committee Member; plus guest speakers, J.T. (Ted) Childs, Jr., Vice President, Global Workforce Diversity, IBM (Retired), and Deborah Dagit, Chief Diversity Officer, Merck (Retired); President, Deb Dagit Diversity, LLC; and
  • The high-energy Closing Session entitled, "Leveraging the Personal Power of Professionals with Disabilities" featured Elizabeth ONeal, Compensation and Benefits Specialist, Mazuma Credit Union as moderator; with keynotes Anupa Iyer, Esq., Assistant to Commissioner Chai Feldblum, EEOC and Donté Mickens, MSM-RMI, CPCU, ARe, CRM, Senior Financial Analyst, NCCI.

Save the Date for the 2015 USBLN 18th Annual National Conference & Biz2Biz Expo

Mark your calendar now for the 18th Annual USBLN Conference to be held in Austin, Texas on September 28-October 1, 2015 at the Renaissance Austin hotel. This event will kick-off National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) and celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Event details will be made available at:

About the US Business Leadership Network® (USBLN®)

The US Business Leadership Network (USBLN) is a national non-profit that helps business drive performance by leveraging disability inclusion in the workplace, supply chain, and marketplace. The USBLN serves as the collective voice of nearly 50 Business Leadership Network affiliates across the United States, representing over 5,000 businesses. Additionally, the USBLN Disability Supplier Diversity Program® (DSDP) is the nation's leading third party certification program for disability-owned businesses, including businesses owned by service-disabled veterans.

Ontario’s new David C. Onley Award for Leadership in Accessibility recognizes individuals and organizations who demonstrate leadership in accessibility and disability issues. It will be awarded for the first time on May, 2015 at the National Access Awareness Week. The award supports Ontario’s ongoing efforts to provide all Ontarians with a more inclusive society where everyone, regardless of ability, has the opportunity to contribute to, and benefit from, economic growth and prosperity. The award is named to honor David C. Onley, Ontario’s outgoing Lieutenant Governor who has been a champion for disability and accessibility issues. He adopted accessibility as the overarching theme of his mandate.

Starting this September 24th, the International Association of Accessibility Professionals introduce its fall schedule for their comprehensive webinar series that tackles the hottest and most important topics in digital accessibility today.

The IAAP Webinar Series delivers you valuable knowledge and connects you with other accessibility professionals. Here's what a recent attendee had to say about our Webinar Series: “I really value these webinars. Thanks, IAAP, for making these learning opportunities happen.”

Read on to learn more about our upcoming webinars. There are comprehensive courses for both beginners and developers!  

Currently Scheduled Webinars:  

Using Assistive Technology (AT) in Accessibility Testing

Date: Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Time: 12:00 p.m. Eastern (UTC – 4 hours)
Speaker: Kathy Wahlbin, CEO and Founder, Interactive Accessibility

Target Audience: Beginners 

Assistive technology is fascinating and empowering to people with disabilities, yet it presents compliance challenges for producers of online content. Technology provides endless opportunities to gain access to services and content, but often organizations misunderstand or don’t know the accessibility guidelines or how to test for accessibility.

Join us for our September 24 webinar to learn how you can use assistive technology in accessibility testing. 

Register for the webinar

Read more about the Using Assistive Technology (AT) in Accessibility Testing webinar

Web Components and Accessibility 

Date: Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Time: 11:00 a.m. Eastern (UTC – 4 hours)
Speaker: Karl Groves, Senior Technical Lead, Accessibility Software Consultant, Director of Training, The Paciello Group
Target Audience: Developers. This session requires experience with HTML and CSS and at least a basic understanding of and experience with JavaScript.

There's an exciting new technology available to developers: Web components. They offer a new way to encapsulate new functionality into webpages directly, allowing for custom elements with their full presentation logic and business logic to be built in as though they were native. This technology also allows for new, customized versions of existing native functionality and improvements to the native functionality without needing to require that functionality to be built from scratch. This creates new opportunities and challenges for accessibility. 

Join us for our October 8 webinar to learn about Web components and accessibility. 

Register for the webinar

Read more about the Web Components and Accessibility webinar.


Webinar Format: The webinars will be hosted in the Adobe Connect webinar platform, which is accessible with a variety of browsers and on mobile devices. Captioning will be provided. For additional details about Adobe Connect accessibility, go to this Adobe Connect Accessibility Features page.

Join IAAP today to get the member webinar rate. Individual membership fees are waived for membership between now and 3/15/2015.  

Students from the National University of Ireland won third place in the finals of The Microsoft Imagine Cup in Seattle. Matthew McCann, KC Grand and Jack Gallagher won the prize in the World Citizenship category for their AccessEarth app. The app provides users with disabilities up-to-date, reliable data on the accessibility of buildings around the world. 

McCann has cerebral palsy and uses a rollator. He believes the app will help people with mobility disabilities. The inspiration came after McCann and Grant had a difficult trip to London in 2012 and encountered a hotel that advertised accessibility features and McCann still had difficulties.

Read more about the winning app.

The 2015 Access Awards honor individuals, corporation and organizations who substantially reduce inequities faced by individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Today they are calling for nominations.

A nominee should be someone who illustrates an exceptional and innovative effort responsible for improving the lives of people who are blind or have low vision by improving access to information, the environment, technology, education or employment. This may include making mainstream products and services Accessible. It should be an effort that has national or international impact or is able to serve as a model for replication on a national or international level.

The Access Awards will be presented on April 10, 2015 at the AFB Leadership Conference in Phoenix, Arizona.


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