Virginia Tech and Verbit – National Disability Employment Awareness Summit

By: Danielle Chazen

“In 1945, Congress declared the first week in October ‘National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.’ That week is now a month, so there’s more time to celebrate,” reported the National Disability Institute, explaining that the entire month of October is now dedicated to highlighting barriers to employment that people with disabilities face, and the significance of including them more efficiently in the workforce.  

Of course, for people with disabilities to be prepared to thrive in the workforce, the work needs to start earlier. Specifically, it needs to start by creating more inclusive and accessible classrooms that provide equal education opportunities to people who were previously left behind.

That’s why Virginia Tech is hosting a special event on October 4, 2019, and we’re excited to have our own Scott Ready, senior customer success and accessibility strategist at Verbit, keynote speak there.

Here’s everything you need to know about this event.

Discover the Best Tools and Practices for Accessible University Communication at a Free Event

Virginia Tech’s National Disability Employment Awareness event is all about exploring tools and best practices for accessible communications employed around the university. The event will include five talks. The first four will cover proactive accessible design, accessible Web communications, leveraging audio and video technology in the classroom, and how to keep C.A.L.M (Choose Accessible Learning Materials) and caption on. The fifth talk will be Scott’s keynote, which will cover the path to inclusion, and specifically, how to move from being reactive to taking a proactive approach toward accessibility for all.

Virginia Tech, the University Behind the Event: Deep Commitment to Equal Access and Opportunity for Students, Employees and Campus Visitors

One of the main reasons we’re excited to collaborate with Virginia Tech on this event is that this university is very committed to equal access and opportunity for all students. It is also committed to providing the same equality to its employees and campus visitors. To follow through on this commitment, the university provides a wealth of physical and digital resources. In the Accessible Learning Materials hub on its website, for example, the university talks about one of the event’s topics, keeping C.A.L.M and captioning on.

According to this hub, choosing accessible learning materials supports the development of UDL and, therefore, supports making “learning available to the broadest possible audience.” But just as we emphasize consistently here at Verbit, Virginia Tech explains that adding captions to support hard of hearing students ends up benefiting “a myriad of other students, such as visual learners and multilingual learners.” If you’ve been around Verbit for a while, you know there is a very deep alignment in both values and passion here.

An Opportunity to Meet Our Senior Customer Success and Accessibility Strategist

As we shared, we’re very excited that Scott Ready, senior customer success and accessibility strategist here at Verbit, is keynoting the event. Scott grew up with deaf parents who were teachers at the Missouri School for the Deaf, so he grew up on campus and gained a unique perspective that propelled over 20 years of his own professional experience with global higher education and K-12. He started his professional path as an assistant director of the Kansas Commission for the Deaf, and as the director of community relations at the Southwestern Bell Telephone Company’s Relay Center. He continued this path as the community liaison for the South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind, enhancing the educational experience for students with varying abilities. Then, he served as the director of online education, plus faculty and department chair, of the first online Interpreter Training Program (ITP) in the country. More recently, Scott spent 14 years at Blackboard Ally, among others as the director of the accessibility strategy, before he joined Verbit.