The Maryland Department of Information Technology (DoIT), in collaboration with the Maryland Department of Disabilities and the Office of State Procurement within the Maryland Department of General Service, has launched the state’s first-ever Accessibility Officer Initiative with the ultimate goal of improving digital services accessibility in the state.

The Maryland Digital Service, housed within DoIT, will manage the new initiative. As part of the effort, staff from every executive state agency were invited to attend a training session to learn more about accessible design and how they can gradually lead its implementation at their agencies.

DoIT said in a press release that Accessibility Officers will “serve as vital points of connection between different state departments, teams, and external entities, facilitating communication and building bridges to help state agencies build more accessible websites and digital services.”

Historically the state’s websites, apps, and major IT projects have been built based on each state agency’s needs and technical expertise, which has resulted in state digital services featuring varied levels of accessibility, DoIT said.

“Accessible digital design is critically important to over one million Marylanders with disabilities. This Accessibility Officer Initiative is an important step towards making Maryland’s digital services more accessible so that more Maryland residents and employees can access government services and resources.” says Katie Savage, Secretary of the Maryland DoIT.

“I’m incredibly proud of what our Accessibility Office has accomplished and grateful for our partnerships with the Maryland Department of Disabilities, the Maryland Department of General Service, and our other sister agencies,” she said.

Over the next few months, DoIT will be taking more steps to make the state’s digital services more accessible, including:

  • Establishing an Accessibility Community of Practice. In August 2024, the Accessibility Officer cohort will receive additional training from accessibility experts in DoIT, academia, and industry;
  • Building web templates and design patterns that will allow Maryland agencies to build accessible resources and web services more easily; and
  • Releasing the state’s first-ever Digital Accessibility Report, which will detail the current state of accessibility in Maryland and plans to improve accessibility of our digital assets over the following 12 months.
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