Under the agreement, IAAP programs (including online communities, professional education, certification, membership and events) will be operated as a new division of G3ict. All existing IAAP membership benefits and services will remain unchanged, and IAAP certification programs will be further enhanced with new tracks and content to address the needs of international markets and more specialized areas of expertise, such as web accessibility.
This critical global need for accessibility professionals is driven by four key factors: (1) Increasing compliance requirements in countries with existing accessibility legislation; (2) Ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) by 166 countries, which obligates those governments to ensure information and communication technologies are accessible to persons with disabilities; (3) Aging demographics in major markets, which greatly increases the population needing accessible solutions; and (4) Intense competition in the IT industry to provide superior digital experiences to consumers of digital content, products and services.
“The G3ict and IAAP missions have always been very well aligned. So, this opportunity to directly align our investments and programs is a major step forward that will enable IAAP and its members to continue doing the same great work — but with greater efficiency and broader impact. By aligning our day-to-day operations with G3ict, we will expand IAAP’s global footprint, help more professionals around the world develop important accessibility skills, make it easier to achieve the goals of the CRPD, and ultimately improve the lives of millions of people with disabilities around the world,” said Rob Sinclair, President of the IAAP Board of Directors.
The merger leverages the strengths of both organizations: IAAP’s large, multi-national membership, training resources, and industry-leading certification program; and the G3ict’s global reach and trusted consultation with governments, corporations, academic institutions, and advocacy organizations around the world. It represents a natural step for both organizations that are well-known among constituents dedicated to promoting the accessibility of information and communication technologies.
Sharon Spencer, whose role was instrumental in developing IAAP from its inception, will serve as Director of IAAP for G3ict and lead the immediate transition of IAAP operations to G3ict. Members of the current IAAP Board have been appointed to the IAAP Global Leadership Team and will be responsible for overseeing all current and future developments of IAAP programs. The technical, academic and logistics aspects of the IAAP training and certification programs will be managed in partnership with the Alternate Media Access Center (AMAC) at the Georgia Institute of Technology. AMAC will also help ensure all IAAP programs and web sites are fully accessible.
Ambassador Luis Gallegos, Chair of the Board of G3ict, and former Chair of the United Nations General Assembly Ad hoc Preparatory Committee for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, highlighted: “We are extremely pleased to see this merger formed at a time when the lack of skilled accessibility professionals constitutes a major roadblock to fully realize the promises of the Convention. We look forward to making a real difference in promoting the IAAP programs around the world.”
“It is a very timely opportunity for G3ict to work closely with the IAAP leadership to promote the association’s training and certification programs worldwide. Those activities and the global footprint of IAAP testing centers will directly complement our work since ten years in promoting CRPD compliant accessibility policies and programs around the world. IAAP’s networking tools will enable professionals working in accessibility to help learn from each other and spread ICT accessibility even more broadly. It will allow us to offer practical resources for governments, corporations and academia to rapidly build their capacity to develop and maintain accessible digital content and services. The IAAP programs will considerably enhance G3ict’s ability to fulfill its mission of promoting the rights of persons with disabilities in the digital age,” said Axel Leblois, Founder and President of G3ict.
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The International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP) is a membership-based organization for individuals and organizations that are focused on accessibility or are in the process of building their accessibility skills and strategies. The objective of this association is to help accessibility professionals develop and advance their careers and to help organizations integrate accessibility into their products and infrastructure. The IAAP will provide a place for accessibility professionals around the world to gather, share experiences and enrich their knowledge of accessibility. Visit: www.accessibilityassociation.org.
G3ict - the Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs is an advocacy initiative launched in December 2006 by the United Nations Global Alliance for ICT and Development, in cooperation with the Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at UN DESA. Its mission is to facilitate and support the implementation of the dispositions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on the accessibility of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and assistive technologies. G3ict relies on an international network of ICT accessibility experts to develop and promote good practices, technical resources and benchmarks for ICT accessibility advocates around the world. It is incorporated as a non-profit organization in the State of Georgia, USA, and headquartered in Atlanta. Visit www.g3ict.org.
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