Job hunting made accessible in USA

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Friday, 15 February 2013 09:26am

A job search and recruitment website in the US has made job hunting easier for people with a disability by making the site more accessible. Working with the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), Monster – known as CareerOne in Australia – is the first job search website in the US to incorporate the needs of blind and vision impaired job seekers in the design and development of its website. is a job network where employment agencies can post jobs and job seekers can search and apply for jobs across the US. In Australia, similar websites include and Monster's local version, CareerOne. Currently, Monster has websites in 40 countries, including China, Hong Kong and the UK.

Identifying the barriers faced by people who are blind when looking for jobs online, the NFB and Monster have been working together over the past year to come up with a plan to increase employment participation amongst the estimated 21.2 million American adults with vision loss.

In a statement, Monster’s Martha Coakley said, “Unemployment and underemployment in the blind community are significant problems and given the extent to which computers and the Internet have become integral to our daily lives, it is essential that websites are accessible to everyone.”

The agreement between Monster and the NFB will see several improvements made to the website including:

  • All forms and search functions within the site have been made accessible to screen reader users.
  • In addition to the website, Monster will make its mobile apps accessible within the next two years.
  • Monster will ensure employment agencies use an accessible template when posting jobs to the site so that it is easier to navigate with a keyboard, screen reader and braille devices.
  • Improve how the website works with text-to-speech technologies, screen readers and braille devices. This is useful for blind or vision impaired job seekers in particular. Text-to-speech technology converts text content to audible speech.
  • Improve how the website works with braille devices so blind job seekers can access the content when a braille device is connected.
  • Monster also plans to train its staff and representatives on how to provide assistance to blind customers.

In addition, Monster will contribute $50,000 to a job internship program that will be run by the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind. To oversee the process of improving Monster's website and services for people with a disability, a committee will be set up. This committee will also work to keep improving the accessibility of Monster's products and services.

Unemployment and underemployment of people with a disability is also a huge problem in Australia. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics' Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers, only half of the 2.2 million working-age Australians with a disability were employed in 2009, compared to nearly 80 per cent of working-age Australians without a disability.

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