On July 2nd, 2019, we co-hosted an event with Sustainable Connections announcing the launch of the Accessibility Certification Program that AbiliTrek is making available for businesses.
Account of the Event
Daman gave an opening statement about the origins of AbiliTrek and how the business is growing successfully with this new opportunity that has been brought through association with Sustainable Connections.
Then, Kyann discussed the disability market and how allowing for this certification process to occur helps expand the customer market base of the certified business. She discussed how currently accessibility is not very well documented or understood and that the implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act has not become a proactive process, even though it was updated in 2008 as the Disability Act Amendments Act (ADAA) to expand what “disability” means by encompassing the entire range of challenges that may impact how people with disabilities can access public means such as work and social opportunities.
About the ACP
The evaluation expense is seventy-five dollars per year per location for Sustainable Connections or Bellingham Chamber members. All others are one-hundred dollars per year per location for the evaluation. At the moment, only businesses in Bellingham have access to this opportunity, but there is anticipated expansion for the program in the future.
As for what businesses get out of the process, they are checked for physical access, such as the entrance and restroom, and the different services that they can offer such as closed-captioning for on-site media. Shannon from Saturna Capital in downtown Bellingham working as a digital marketing strategist expressed wanting to make a priority of adding closed captioning on all of their videos and anything on their website, which they are launching a new one in the fall of 2019. With Shannon being a part of a national company, this is a sign of the start to making accessibility universal in design for all aspects of a company’s work.
With Third Planet being the first company to have gone through the certification process, Erika and Oliver gave a testimony at the event and mentioned how the process was easy and quick, only lasting about thirty minutes. Erica mentioned seeing a significant increase in customers who use wheelchairs only two weeks after Third Planet had been through the certification process.
From the Event and Beyond
Kyann and Daman closed the event by answering questions. They talked a bit more about AbiliTrek, their evaluation process, and their disability etiquette training that explains disability etiquette and history that helps train employees. If you would like to learn more about the ACP or AbiliTrek’s other services, check them out here.