Jobs, Training and Facilities

CCHCS marks ADA anniversary with look into accessibility

To mark the anniversary of landmark ADA legislation, CCHCS is taking a closer look at website and document accessibility.

On July 26, 1990, President George HW Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The act strives to provide equal access to employment opportunities and protection from discrimination for individuals with disabilities.

Meeting accessibility deadline

In October 2017, then-Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 434 (AB 434), requiring state agencies certify public-facing websites are compliant with accessibility standards by July 1, 2019.

This massive undertaking involved remediating thousands of documents and web pages. The important effort brought together all disciplines from CCHCS including:

  • business analysts
  • technical staff
  • program users
  • subject matter experts
  • and vendor partners.

During the course of this massive project, the AB 434 Accessibility Team worked together to identify, review, test and update public content to ensure that it met accessibility standards for all users.

Hundreds of staff were trained and additional screen-reader licenses, such as Non-Visual Desktop Access (NVDA) and Job Access with Speech (JAWS), were procured for those who wanted to learn more advanced practices for making content ADA compliant.

Finally, on the morning of June 30, 2019, Richard Kirkland, Chief Deputy Receiver, and Cheryl Larson, Chief Information Officer and Director of Information Technology, signed a Website Accessibility Certification. The certification declared the CCHCS was maintained to comply with California accessibility requirements.

This was a major accomplishment for all involved, requiring no additional contracts to complete. Efforts were accomplished internally using CCHCS staff.

Going beyond required ADA standards

However, the steps to achieve and remain in compliance with ADA requirements did not stop there. CCHCS began updating the website, documents and software to be mobile responsive and accessible to all users and devices.

New Information Technology applications are routinely tested during development for ADA compliance while vendors are required to use accessibility standards. Additionally, CCHCS hired a dedicated Accessibility Coordinator to monitor the integrity of documents posted while also providing staff training.

The future for CCHCS accessibility looks very busy and bright! In the near future, we look forward to:

  • Continuing to provide valuable training resources to staff, including how to use a screen reader;
  • Procuring new software to further help certify content as ADA compliant;
  • Redesigning Lifeline and working towards making all internal content accessible (2021); and
  • Recertifying the accessibility of our public facing website by July 1, 2021, and biennially thereafter.

None of this progress and work on future projects could have been accomplished without the dedication and willingness to learn from all CCHCS staff involved. Thank you for all of your efforts, feedback, and hard work. We will soon reach a point when accessibility will become second nature to us; much like attention to spelling and grammar. While there is still much to accomplish, we are making great progress to ensure equal access to everyone on all CCHCS platforms.

The former CEO and current L.A. Clippers owner Steve Ballmer says accessibility is important for everyone.

“Accessible design is good design, benefiting people who don’t have disabilities as well as people who do. Accessibility is all about removing barriers and providing the benefits of technology for everyone,” he said.

By David Bennewitz, CCHCS Webmaster
and Jennifer Corcoran, CCHCS Accessibility Coordinator

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