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Special Project

Special Project
From the 4th Annual Shorty Social Good Awards

Teach Access

Winner in B2B

Finalist in Accessibility


Accessible technology has the power to create a more inclusive and equitable world for the 1 billion people who live with disabilities. However 60% of companies say it is difficult or very difficult to find candidates with the accessibility skills needed. Similarly, academic programs in design, engineering, computer science, and human-computer interfaces seek ways to better prepare students to address the needs of diverse global populations. 

We set out to tackle this significant accessibility skills gap by co-founding Teach Access, a groundbreaking partnership of top tech companies, major universities, and leading advocacy organizations with a mission to infuse accessibility concepts and skills into higher education curriculum. 

Teach Access’ focus is on systemic change - with the understanding that no single entity or sector can alone make the necessary progress at the scale required. Together, we empower students studying design, computer science, and human-computer interaction with the knowledge necessary to create a more inclusive and accessible world. 

Strategy and Execution

Teach Access is currently comprised of over forty companies, universities, and disability advocacy groups who volunteer up to 10% of their time to advance the initiative’s goals. A brief list of notable partners include Adobe, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Verizon Media and Walmart; California State University, Cornell University, Georgia Tech University, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Rochester Institute of Technology, Stanford University, University of Washington, University of Colorado and Utah State University; and the Hearing Loss Association, American Council of the Blind, American Association of People with Disabilities, and many others.



Partners are implementing strategic initiatives to support faculty, inspire students and engage industry.


1. Faculty Support: Empower faculty with the necessary tools to teach accessibility through Faculty Bootcamps and Grant Funding. 


2. Student Immersive learning: Inspire students with on-site learning experiences.

Teach Access launched the Study Away Silicon Valley program, bringing together students, faculty, and industry partners to provide higher ed students with the opportunity to experience how top tech companies establish and pursue their accessibility goals. For a week each Spring, 20-30 students from up to six universities visit a different company (e.g. Adobe, Apple, Facebook, Google, Intuit, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Walmart and Verizon Media) to gain an understanding of the work being done in each location and engaging in substantive conversations to advance their own knowledge. Throughout the week, small cross-institutional teams of students work together to solve an accessibility challenge, and receive feedback from industry partners each day. On the final day of the program, student teams present their work to all participants, including representatives from Teach Access member companies.

The goals of this learning program include:


3. Corporate Commitment: Provides an avenue for companies to engage.

Teach Access companies are focused on the continual improvement of the accessibility of their products and services and know that the success of this effort relies on a workforce familiar with the fundamentals of designing, developing, testing and proliferating accessible technologies, including the common standards and specifications and alternative interfaces used by people with disabilities. 

To achieve this goal, Teach Access helps member companies add language to job descriptions that emphasize this skill set. By highlighting the need for new talent to enter the workforce prepared with this knowledge, companies are shining a spotlight on their dedication to this shared mission and raising awareness among job-seekers. Companies believe this effort will result in significant savings of time and effort presently spent training existing staff on the requirements they face in the global marketplace.


Teach Access has achieved immediate, tangible results as well as long-term, systemic investments that will help ensure future technology is accessible to all, including people with disabilities. Results include:



Video for Teach Access

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Teach Access


Entry Credits