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By Misha King
DCMA Public Affairs
Abiding by Section 508 guidance is not only important because it’s a federal law, it also ensures the Defense Contract Management Agency can support an ever-changing workforce.
“The onset of a disability can happen at any time to anyone,” said JaVon Warren, one of DCMA’s Section 508 Program Management Office team members and subject matter experts. “Although an individual may not have a disability today, they may experience a life-altering event tomorrow where they would need an accessible workplace and 508-compliant technology to complete their duties.”
Section 508 requires federal agencies to ensure persons with disabilities – employees and the public – have comparable access to and use of information and communication technology, referred to as ICT. It also helps foster a more inclusive environment for all DCMA employees.
“It’s our office’s responsibility to ensure Section 508 compliance is ingrained into DCMA culture and becomes an integral part in how the agency conducts business,” said Antonio Boston, DCMA’s Section 508 Program Management Office coordinator. “However, creating a more accessible workplace and achieving 508 compliance isn’t just my office’s responsibility, it’s the duty of every DCMA employee. By taking this requirement seriously, we not only ensure all our teammates have equal access, we also protect our agency from any potential lawsuits resulting from not being compliant.”
Section 508 standards provide criteria specific to various ICT types, including:
Warren said some employees have never heard of Section 508, let alone its importance, and don’t realize they’re responsible for making certain documents ICT accessible.
“If the documents will be public-facing, they must be 508-compliant,” she said. “If the documents won’t be public-facing, they must be 508-compliant when they are official business and communicated through specific channels.”
Those channels include:
“We encourage employees to visit our Electronic Content resource page on DCMA 365, or contact our office if they need document remediation assistance or to request Section 508 document remediation training,” added Warren.
The Section 508 five-member team frequently launches awareness and training campaigns to help the agency become more proactive about 508 compliance. To further stress the importance of this type of accessibility, Boston’s team is hosting a virtual discussion panel June 27 for the DCMA workforce.
“The panel members will provide insight and information about Section 508 and ICT accessibility within the agency,” said Boston. “We’ll also share our firsthand experiences with fostering a more inclusive environment and answer participants’ questions in real-time.”
Warren said she’s excited about the upcoming panel and hopes her DCMA teammates will join her office’s mission in fostering a more inclusive and accessible environment for our current and future workforce.
“The more individuals incorporate 508 into their ICT, the better we can serve DCMA employees, customers and members of the public, regardless of their disability status,” she said.
For more information about Section 508, visit DCMA’s Section 508 program webpage.
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