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By JaVon Warren
DCMA Information Technology
My DCMA showcases the Defense Contract Management Agency’s experienced and diverse workforce and highlights what being a part of the national defense team means to them. Today, Antonio Boston shares his story.
My name is Antonio Boston, and this is “My DCMA.” I’m the agency’s Section 508 coordinator, and I’m based at DCMA headquarters. I joined the agency in September 2013 as a Talent Management System program manager and the Section 508 coordinator after retiring from the Army after 25 years of service. I’ve been working in the information technology field since 1997 and have achieved Level Three certification in both IT and program management.
I enjoy working at DCMA for several reasons. First, it has provided me the opportunity to keep serving my country after retiring from the military. Second, the workforce is very diverse in culture, and I’ve fostered great relationships with nice, hard-working people. Finally, I get to advocate for individuals with disabilities, push for accessibility and build a positive Section 508 compliance reputation for DCMA and our employees.
My experience as an Army officer in program management helped me build DCMA’s Section 508 program over the past 10 years. In 1998, the Section 508 amendment to the 1974 Rehabilitation Act identified the importance of making information and communication technology, or ICT, accessible to all. My office ensures the agency is complaint with this law by including 508 standards and requirements in our procurement processes; developing, implementing and maintaining processes; and providing technical guidance, tools, training and resources to assist with 508 compliance. It’s a lot, but it’s very important and rewarding work.
Even though DCMA has improved in Section 508 compliance over the last four years, my team and I still face barriers in providing tools and resources for our employees with disabilities. Like most federal agencies, DCMA has suffered budget cuts and funding delays. Consequently, we lack the resources to support the entire agency, which hinders awareness, training and direct support in complying with Section 508 standards at all levels.
I’m a big advocate of National Disability Employment Awareness Month because I believe there are many advantages to hiring individuals with disabilities. Aside from the legal requirements, accessibility is good for business. Creating products and information that everyone can use drives innovation, provides a better customer experience and improves employee engagement. Accessibility helps reach more stakeholders and, ultimately, achieve the organization’s mission. On top of all these benefits, hiring people with disabilities is just the right thing to do. Having a disability doesn’t automatically mean a person lacks the skillsets needed to support an organization’s mission. That’s why equal access is necessary.
To me, NDEAM’s theme of “Advancing Access and Equity” means taking deliberate actions and implementing policies and practices at DCMA to ensure everyone has a fair and equal opportunity to participate, and fully receive internal and external information. We do this by providing equal opportunities, developing inclusive policies, increasing awareness and establishing a long-term commitment to Section 508 compliance. By improving access to information and resources, we create a more inclusive society by reducing barriers, providing cultural competence and maximizing potential.
Improving access can create a positive ripple effect over time. Those who have benefited from increased and advanced access become advocates for inclusivity and contribute toward advancing accessibility even further. But like the famous African proverb states, “It takes a village ….” Since our Section 508 program office is very small, we need everyone’s help to foster a more inclusive environment for all DCMA employees, our customers and the public.
My love and passion for helping others spills from my personal life as a minister. Like my role as the agency’s Section 508 coordinator, ministry allows me to help others, influence positive change and build communities. I find spiritual fulfillment in nurturing the spiritual well-being of others and making a positive impact on their lives.
My wife and I have three sons, two of which are medical doctors and the other an information technology professional like me. We’re empty nesters and are loving the freedom and flexibility to pursue our own interests and hobbies without having the day-to-day responsibility of parenting. In our spare time, we enjoy gardening and counting down to retirement together. After I retire from the federal government, I plan to continue my ministry service as a pastor and find other ways to help people. Of course, I’ll do some fishing, too!
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