While the “demand for inclusive digital products is rising…tech designers, engineers, and project managers aren’t being trained in accessibility skills.” And employers have difficulty hiring employees with “even basic knowledge and skills related to digital accessibility.” The AFB Talent Lab, a new education experience, seeks to close the gap between need and skills through a “’hands-on learning environment.’” The first group of participants in the Intern and Registered Apprenticeship programs of the AFB Talent Lab have completed their first term of educational requirements and will start to work on projects with corporate partners this fall. Participants build skills that will be an asset to employers, helping individuals with disabilities to develop careers as accessibility project managers and provide guidance to partnering organizations on how to achieve accessibility goals. The program curriculum fosters greater understanding of needs as well as skills in accessibility, along with studying low and high tech assistive technologies (like screen readers), their impact on people’s quality of life, how to design for visual accessibility, how to report accessibility issues, and more. The lack of competency in the current tech work force has a significant and acknowledged impact. A report from the Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology (PEAT) indicated that 63 percent of companies stated that their current employees lack adequate accessible technology skills, and 97.4 percent of the top one million websites worldwide do not feature full accessibility. Applications to join the AFB Talent Lab programs in Summer 2023 are anticipated to be available in the winter. To learn more, visit Client Services at the AFB Talent Lab. For companies interested in partnerships opportunities for the Intern and Apprenticeship programs, visit Support AFB Talent Lab or contact [email protected] For more details about the program, read the press release from the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) about how the AFB Talent Lab Fosters Digital Inclusion Experts of Tomorrow.