SSB's David Andrews Receives Award for Contributions to Accessibility in Minnesota
David Andrews, Chief Technology Officer at State Services for the Blind, received the 2019 Golden GovIT Award for Individual Leadership. The Golden GOVIT Awards recognize government agencies and other public sector institutions that have advanced government technology through collaboration, innovation, service and individual leadership. The awards are presented in conjunction with the Government IT Symposium, an annual educational event that provides a natural forum to feature and celebrate the products, services, systems and solutions that improve government IT services and benefit citizens. The 2019 award recipients were announced during the Symposium on December 11, and all nominees were honored at an awards reception immediately following. Those nominating Dave cited his championing of technology that is accessible to all across state government. "Every day throughout his state government career, Dave has championed technology innovation, collaboration, and improvement of services." Prior to 2009, Dave dared to ask the question "why is the state buying inaccessible technology?" This question, along with a group of dedicated individuals, blazed a trail which led to:
- the passing of the State of Minnesota’s digital accessibility law,
- the hiring of the Chief Information Accessibility Officer, and
- the establishment of the Office of Accessibility.
You can read more about how Minnesota state employees are making accessibility mainstream in a post on the Accessibility Blog of Minnesota’s IT department.
People With Disabilities, At Work For Minnesota!
At SSB, we know firsthand that blind, visually impaired, and DeafBlind Minnesotans are bringing skill, experience, talent, and dedication to Minnesota businesses. A recent opinion piece in the Star Tribune by Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove makes the business case for hiring Minnesotans with disabilities.
"There are lots of reasons employers are hiring people with disabilities, and all of them are helping improve their bottom line."
"People with disabilities have been solving problems their whole life," said disability programs coordinator Ken Rodgers of MnDOT, who is blind. "Bringing that mind-set to the workforce is incredibly valuable."
"Opportunities to improve your business while also improving access to opportunities for people who live with disabilities is a win-win. We encourage more and more businesses to take advantage of this unique workforce. With acute workforce shortages across our economy, now is the time."
Commissioner Grove includes some practical guidance and best practices. Read the full article.
What Would I Do, if I Couldn’t See?
Lots of us ask that question from time to time. The simple answer is that with a few new skills, you’d be going about your everyday life. Three short videos showcase Minnesotans who are blind, losing vision, or DeafBlind, doing just that.
"How Could I do This Job If I Can't See" (audio described) shows Minnesotans using high tech and low tech solutions at work. It’s a nice introduction for hiring managers who might be wondering if an applicant who is blind, low vision, or DeafBlind could indeed be the best person for a job.
"How Can I do It If I Can't See It" (audio described) speaks to the experience of seniors who are wondering how to live well with vision loss.
"How Can I Read It If I Can't See It" (audio described) is for everyone who loves reading and worries that vision loss, or another disability, might take away their ability to read. This video demonstrates how our Communication Center has become "Minnesota’s Accessible Reading Source."
Open Positions on the State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind
The State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind (SRC-B) has open seats. Learn more about the council or apply directly on the Secretary of State's Open Positions page.