[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 100 (Tuesday, May 24, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 30227-30228]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-12642]


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SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION

[Docket No. SSA-2011-0041]


On behalf of the Accessibility Committee of the Federal Chief 
Information Officers Council; Listening Session Regarding Improving the 
Accessibility of Government Information

AGENCY: Federal Chief Information Officers Council, Social Security 
Administration.

ACTION: Notice of meeting.

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SUMMARY: This notice announces a listening session that the CIO Council 
is conducting in response to a memo dated July 19, 2010 from the Office 
of Management and Budget (OMB) on ``Improving the Accessibility of 
Government Information''. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (29 
U.S.C. 794d) requires Federal agencies to buy and use electronic and 
information technology (EIT) that is accessible. The July memo directs 
agencies to take stronger steps toward improving the acquisition and 
implementation of accessible technology. In order to better understand 
the needs of diverse communities and provide better solutions, the 
Federal Chief Information Officers Council (CIOC), in collaboration 
with the Chief Acquisition Officers Council, the GSA Office of 
Governmentwide Policy and the U.S. Access Board, has held several in a 
series of listening sessions to engage citizens and employees in 
expressing concerns and proposing ideas. The next listening session 
will be at Stanford University 450 Serra Mall, Stanford, CA 94305 and 
will include time for generating a dialogue with technology companies. 
It will also include time for general comments from the public. 
Representatives from technology companies, persons with disabilities, 
their advocates, and government employees are invited to participate.

DATES: Listening Session: Friday, June 17, 2011, from 1:30 p.m. to 5 
p.m. Pacific Time (PT).
    Persons wishing to speak at the listening session can pre-register 
by contacting Emily Koo at (410) 965-4472 or 
Innovate.Accessibility@ssa.gov. Pre-registrants will have priority to 
speak during the session. Registration will also be available in person 
at Stanford University on the afternoon of the listening session.

ADDRESSES: Meeting Location: Hewlett Teaching Center, room Hewlett 200, 
370 Serra Mall, Stanford CA 94305.
    Accommodations: The listening session will have sign language 
interpreters; real time captioning services, assistive listening 
devices and microphones. Materials will be available in Braille, large 
print and electronic formats. The meeting location is wheelchair 
accessible. Anyone needing other accommodations should include a 
specific request when registering at least three (3) days in advance.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: mailto: Emily Koo at (410) 965-4472 or 
Innovate.Accessibility@ssa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In 1998, Congress amended the Rehabilitation 
Act of 1973 to require Federal agencies to make their EIT accessible to 
people with disabilities. Inaccessible technology interferes with an 
ability to obtain and use information quickly and easily. Section 508 
was enacted to eliminate barriers in information technology, open new 
opportunities for people with disabilities, and encourage development 
of technologies that will help achieve these goals. The law applies to 
all Federal agencies when they develop, procure, maintain, or use 
electronic and information technology. Under Section 508 (29 U.S.C. 
794d), agencies must give employees with disabilities and members of 
the public with disabilities access to information that is comparable 
to access available to others without disabilities.
    Effective implementation of Section 508 is an essential element of 
President Obama's principles of open government, requiring that all 
government and data be accessible to all citizens. In order for the 
goal of open government to be meaningful for persons with disabilities, 
technology must also be accessible, including digital content. In July 
2010, the OMB took steps to assure that the Federal government's 
progress in implementing Section 508 is stronger and achieves results 
more quickly.
    Section 508 requires the General Services Administration (GSA) to 
provide technical assistance to agencies on Section 508 implementation. 
GSA has created a number of tools, available at http://www.Section508.gov, to help agencies develop accessible requirements, 
test the acceptance

[[Page 30228]]

process, and share lessons learned and best practices. For example:
     The BuyAccessible Wizard, http://www.buyaccessible.gov, 
helps build compliant requirements and solicitations;
     The Quick Links site, https://app.buyaccessible.gov/baw/KwikLinksMain.jsp, provides pre-packaged Section 508 solicitation 
documents;
     The BuyAccessible Products and Services Directory, https://app.buyaccessible.gov/DataCenter/ provides a registry of companies and 
accessibility information about their offerings; and
     The Accessibility Forum 2.0 blog http://buyaccessible.net/blog/ provides a venue where stakeholders may share ideas and success 
stories, or engage in conversations on improving accessibility.
    The OMB has directed that several actions be taken to improve 
Section 508 performance:
     By Mid-January 2011, OMB required the GSA Office of 
Government-wide Policy (OGP) to provide updated guidance on making 
government EIT accessible. This guidance built upon existing resources 
to address challenges, increase oversight, and reduce costs associated 
with acquiring and managing EIT solutions that are not accessible.
     By Mid-January 2011, OMB required the GSA OGP to update 
its general Section 508 training to offer refreshed continuous learning 
modules that can be used by contracting officers, program/project 
managers (especially those managing EIT programs), and contracting 
officer technical representatives (COTRs) as they fulfill their Federal 
Acquisition Certification requirements.
     In March 2011, the GSA OGP and the Department of Justice 
(DOJ) issued a survey to allow agencies to assess their implementation 
of Section 508, including accessibility of websites and other 
technology used by the agencies. DOJ will use this information in 
preparing its next assessment of agency compliance as required by the 
Rehabilitation Act. The CIOC Accessibility Committee will also use this 
information to identify best practices and lessons learned.
     In the spring of 2011, the DOJ will issue a progress 
report on Federal agency compliance with Section 508, the first since 
2004. Going forward, DOJ will meet its obligation to issue a report 
biennially.
     Beginning in FY 2011, the GSA OGP began providing OMB a 
quarterly summary report containing results of Section 508 reviews of a 
sample of solicitations posted on FedBizOpps.gov. GSA will provide the 
agencies a summary of the sampling results to facilitate sharing of 
best practices and successes, and to address common challenges.
    This listening session will focus on what other steps the Federal 
government can take to increase the accessibility and usability of 
government information and data for persons with disabilities.
    Specific input from private industry is sought for the following 
questions:
     How can the Federal government attract wider support from 
the greater information technology (IT) community in accessibility and 
assistive technology (AT)?
     What is private industry doing to implement IT 
accessibility that the Federal government should follow?
     From the perspective of vendors, how can implementation of 
Section 508 be improved?
     What could the Federal government ask for that would allow 
vendors to better show that their products meet accessibility needs?
     What support do newly emerging technology companies need 
to build in accessibility in the product and service offerings?
    General input is sought on the following questions:
     What can the Federal government do to use technology 
better or in new ways?
     What can the Federal government do to make technology more 
accessible?
     What emerging technologies does the Federal government use 
that you cannot?
     What technologies should the Federal government use that 
would enhance your interactions with the Federal government?
     What are state and local governments doing to implement 
information technology IT accessibility that the Federal government 
should follow?
     What is academia doing to implement IT accessibility that 
the Federal government should follow?
     What can the Federal government do to influence technology 
accessibility?
     What can the Federal government do to support the 
availability of effective Communities of Practice on IT accessibility?
     Do you believe the IT industry would benefit from a 
professional certification or credential that denotes a company's 
expertise in accessibility? How could that be implemented and managed, 
and should the government play a role in making that happen?
    Feedback from the listening session will be used by, and shared 
across, agencies to improve accessibility and usability.

Karen Palm,
Associate Chief Information Officer.
[FR Doc. 2011-12642 Filed 5-23-11; 8:45 am]
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