A publication of the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University
Demand-Side Employment Placement Models
Accessible Training Checklist
In your company or organization: Do employees with disabilities routinely participate in employer-sponsored training opportunities? Are procedures in place to promote qualified employees with disabilities to management and supervisory positions? Workers with disabilities are comparatively less likely to feel that adequate training is available to them, or that existing training resources are accessible to them. The consequences of inadequate training are substantial, in reducing job satisfaction, with corresponding negative consequences for productivity and retention. Companies favored by employees with disabilities make a concerted effort to create equitable and accessible training resources.
- Ensure that all internal professional development programs are available to employees with disabilities.
- Monitor progress related to the advancement of employees with disabilities, as compared to other workers, before and after training programs.
- Ensure that all staff is knowledgeable of the company’s commitment and policy on accessibility in the workplace. Require staff to implement accessibility policies and protocols in all trainings.
- Be mindful of different accommodation needs of employees with disabilities. Give advanced notice of training details, requirements and expected goals. Ask employees if they prefer a specific method of training. Include alternative formats of printed material. Encourage trainees with disabilities to give feedback about their difficulties or needs.
- When working with or training teams do not automatically regard workers with disabilities as liabilities or pass their workload and responsibilities to the rest of the team.
- Be aware of energy level considerations. Fatigue tends to be more of an issue with some participants with disabilities due to factors such as the disability itself, medications, and the extra effort required to use assistive technology. Ask participants about any time and fatigue considerations, and plan session timing accordingly.
- Take into account transportation when scheduling multiple locations. Transportation may be more difficult for some participants with disabilities. Employers may need to plan for flexibility of start times.
- Discuss timing of tests with trainees and employees with disabilities. Some may need time before tests to set up assistive technology, while others may need extra time to complete tasks. Also, consider the possible need for extra breaks.
- Small training groups are preferable as it is then possible for the trainer to become closer to trainees and to better understand their physical, psychological and emotional needs during training.
- Pay attention to pronunciation, speaking speed, and tone. Pause between topics in order to give people time to process information. If the participant is having trouble hearing your words don’t just repeat louder, try rewording what you are saying.
- Constructive and candid feedback is necessary; lack of praise and criticism makes judging performance difficult for trainees. Recognize contributions and provide feedback on existing performance.
- Directives and guidelines provided during trainings are to be clear. Verify that trainees can accomplish each task during training before moving on to the next one. Encourage participants to feel free to ask if extra help is needed. Restructure or simplify training formats to accommodate trainees with cognitive disabilities.
- Show alternative methods of accomplishing each task to help trainees develop their own strategic ways of carrying out all required tasks. Review and adapt teaching approaches when required in order to incorporate different methods of instruction.
- If an interpreter will be present, provide room for the interpreter to sit in different positions, such as near the trainer or across from the participant. Arrange for good visibility of the speaker and interpreters. Avoid distracting backgrounds, such as bright sunlight or flashing light.
Documents and Training Materials
- Allow advance access to training materials when possible. Disseminate information through a variety of channels such as email, website content, flyers, pdf files and (if applicable) audio announcements.
- Offer multiple training formats, i.e. classroom, computer-based courses, or distant learning approaches, such as teleconferencing. This can be a real asset for enhanced easy and cost effective access to training, allowing the user to access the classroom from his/her own office or home.
- Provide alternative formats of print materials such as Braille or audio taping. Provide hard copies of lectures or slides or post them online after a session where necessary. Make sure to place handouts or other items required in reach of the user. If videotaped materials are provided, they are to be closed captioned.
Location and Facilities
- Ensure that the location of training is accessible to persons who use wheelchairs. Some considerations include accessible parking, restrooms, doors and aisles, unblocked (obstacle free) corridors, tables (height), seating (both in front and close to an exit).
- Be aware of environmental irritants for chemically sensitive trainees. While this may be difficult to control, a memo to participants to refrain from wearing perfume or cologne can be effective.
- Advocate on behalf of a trainee for training to be held elsewhere when an accommodation is needed for that individual.
Designing accessible on-line training can be beneficial to more than just employees with disabilities; many other employees will also find it more user-friendly. The transformation of the Internet from a text-based medium to a robust multi-media environment has created a growing digital divide in access for people with disabilities. Today, graphical web pages are a barrier if they do not incorporate accessible web design. Share the following measures to assist in minimizing this barrier with your web developers:
- PDFs created by a scanner do not allow access to the text because they are a single graphic image, and thus are inaccessible to a screen reader (used by persons with visual impairments). Provide a text only alternative if a non-accessible version of PDF is used.
- Use alt-tags and labels to denote graphics/pictures; that is, provide alternative text equivalents for images. Provide captions or text transcripts of audio and video files.
- Use of frames is strongly discouraged. Use clear and consistent design, navigation, and links. Group all information under clear headings.
- Allow training program to interact with a variety of browsers.
- Provide adjustable text size and an easy to read typeface and font. Have an option to turn off background images and enough contrast so the background and text are distinct. Design training programs to allow for device independence or for keyboard shortcuts/ navigation.
Resources & Funding
ADA Accessibility Checklist for Existing Facilities
Funding Assistive Technology and Accommodations
Workforce Development Resources: State and Federal Funding Opportunities for Employers
For more information see What is an Inclusive Culture? and the Demand-Side Employment Placement Models project website.
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