Convio and Easter Seals Partner to Create New Job Opportunities in Web Publishing for People With Disabilities

Pilot Program Provides New Accessibility Tools and Training for Web Site Administrators; Boon to Nation's Untapped Workforce and Employers

As the nation's employers face a growing need for workers with Web-related job skills, Convio, Inc. and Easter Seals today announced a first-time program in the nonprofit sector which provides new Internet accessibility technology, job training and employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Convio is the leading provider of on-demand software and services that help nonprofits use the Internet to build strong constituent relationships for driving fundraising, awareness and enduring support. Easter Seals provides services to 1.3 million children and adults with disabilities annually and is recognized nationally as a leader in job training and employment services, workforce development and assistive technology. Convio has worked with Easter Seals since 2002 to help the organization with online fundraising, and also has partnered with the group on a series projects designed to help make the Web more accessible to people with disabilities.

To date, most Web accessibility efforts have focused on ensuring that people with disabilities can access and navigate Web sites as end-users. Easter Seals' latest accessibility initiative, called the Web Author Accessibility Project, focuses on accessibility for Web content publishers.  Funded by a U.S. Department of Commerce Technology Opportunities Program (TOP) grant, the project is based on the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C)* Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines. Until now, there has not been a Web publishing product specifically designed for the nonprofit sector that has met these guidelines. Charitable groups have had to use one of a small number of other software applications developed primarily for the for-profit sector.   

Convio spent more than a year developing software features to enable Web site administrators with disabilities, such as vision or mobility impairments, to create Web pages, email communications and other online content. Convio now is the only software company serving the nonprofit sector to provide such features as a standard part of its product offering.

"This project is about giving people with disabilities a stronger voice on the Internet and making it easier for them to find and secure jobs in our rapidly progressing digital economy," said David Wysocki, Assistant Vice President, Workforce Development/Assistive Technology, Easter Seals. "Only 32 percent of Americans with disabilities are employed in today's workforce, compared to 81 percent of people without disabilities. This is an alarming statistic, and we're pleased to have Convio working with Easter Seals to help make today's electronic workplace more inclusive to people with disabilities while helping to meet the fast and growing workforce needs for the IT industry."

Convio's new Web content management accessibility features include:

  • Complete keyboard driven accessibility that doesn't require use of a computer mouse;
  • High contrast user interface screens with cleaner, more simple layouts;
  • Preference links on each Web page enabling users to customize how content is ordered and displayed;
  • Enhanced support for screen reader software to enable easier Web page navigation; and
  • Scalable text fonts that can be enlarged or reduced without distorting Web page layouts.

Easter Seals will hire 10 interns, people with disabilities interested in careers that require Web authoring skills, and train them to use Convio's new accessible Web content management tools. Following the training, which is slated for four Easter Seals affiliates across the country and Easter Seals' National Headquarters in Chicago, the organization will assist the interns in finding permanent jobs in Web publishing. Additionally, Easter Seals will develop a tool kit and conduct an awareness campaign explaining how other nonprofit groups can recruit, hire and train Web content staff members who have disabilities.

"As the Internet continues to serve an increasing role in today's workplace, the demand for employees who can create and manage Web sites also will continue to sharply rise," said Gene Austin, CEO, Convio. "This is a major advancement within the nonprofit sector which will provide people with disabilities with valuable job skills and new career opportunities which they previously have not been able to pursue. Convio's partnership with Easter Seals on this project also establishes a positive 'spirit of accessibility' trend which we hope other technology vendors serving the nonprofit sector will follow."

About Easter Seals

Easter Seals is the leading non-profit provider of services for individuals with autism, developmental disabilities, physical disabilities and other special needs. For more than 85 years, we have been offering help and hope to children and adults living with disabilities, and to the families who love them. Through therapy, training, education and support services, Easter Seals creates life-changing solutions so that people with disabilities can live, learn, work and play. See great things at http://www.easterseals.com/.

About Convio

Convio is the leading provider of on-demand software and services to help nonprofits use the Internet strategically to build strong relationships with constituents for driving fundraising, advocacy and other forms of support. Convio has online solutions for fundraising, advocacy, Web content management, event fundraising, ecommerce and email communications. All solutions include the Constituent360™ platform, a sophisticated, online marketing database that centralizes constituent data and integrates with offline databases.

Convio has been named 2005 "Private Company of the Year" by the Austin Business Journal. In addition to Easter Seals, the company's clients include American Red Cross, American Diabetes Association, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, AVON Foundation, Farm Aid, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, National Trust For Historic Preservation, Ronald McDonald House Charities, The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and Thirteen/WNET New York. For more information, please visit www.convio.com.

* W3C is an international consortium consisting of more than 400 member organizations and establishes common standards and guidelines that ensure long term growth and interoperability of the Web. 

Press Contact:
Karoline McLaughlin
Director, Corporate Communications
Convio, Inc.

Convio and Easter Seals Partner to Create New Job Opportunities in Web Publishing for People With Disabilities | Convio