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Influencing accessibility

by MEGAN SNODGRASS/Contributing writer
| August 19, 2022 1:00 AM

North Idaho College was in the business of making influencers during the Accessibility Camp Coeur d’Alene, held on Aug. 3 and 4 at NIC’s main campus in Coeur d’Alene.

Keynote speaker Dan Prado encouraged the more than 60 attendees to surround themselves with communities with similar mindsets while becoming leaders in accessibility.

“You’re either being influenced, or you are influencing people,” Prado said. “Great leaders gain and influence followers — nothing more, nothing less. All you need to be successful is to have more reasons to succeed than there are obstacles to success.”

The two-day camp featured more than a dozen seminars hosted by experts in accessibility from around the globe. Topics included equity in the workplace, software for screen readers, inclusive learning, marketing strategies for accessibility and multi-lingual event planning.

Accessibility Camp Cd’A focuses on digital accessibility and narrowed in on speakers with specialized or technical experience, as well as presenters with stories of passion for accessibility, said NIC IT Accessibility Coordinator and event organizer Jeremy Seda.

Attendees came from as close as Coeur d’Alene and as far as Lebanon to attend the conference. Seda said that’s part of the beauty of accessibility.

“Accessibility Camp is not just about making PDFs compatible with screen readers or making the internet available to people with physical or situational disabilities or other barriers,” Seda said. “It’s also about the global community of real people driving the effort. We really are a close-knit community, so having the opportunity to get together in person and talk about our craft is important and impactful.”

The camp is a part of several years of growing grassroots efforts in Idaho to improve and increase accessibility. Nick Stallings, an assistive technology coordinator with the Idaho Assistive Technology Project based out of Boise, said especially in big, rural states like Idaho, knowing that colleagues throughout the state are having the same questions and challenges is reassuring.

“Knowledge is best when it’s shared,” Stallings said. “It’s reassuring knowing that there’s a lot more going on than just our individual roles and just our little pockets of the state and knowing that we’re on the same page. We’re here talking about how we’re going to get the ball kicked — I think the ball is rolling. We need to really boot that thing to get the rest of Idaho up to speed and compliant.”

For more information, contact NIC IT Accessibility Coordinator Jeremy Seda at 208-929-4030 or Jeremy.Seda@nic.edu.

Megan Snodgrass is a Communications Manager employed at North Idaho College.