FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: 
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Category: 
Chris Danielsen
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)
Kristen Gugliotta
Monster.com
(978) 461-8089

Monster.com First in Industry to Make Website Accessible for Blind Users

Effort a Result of Agreement Between Monster Worldwide and the Attorney General’s Office and National Federation of the Blind; First Job Search Website to Be Fully Accessible

BOSTON – The popular job search website Monster.com will be the first job search and recruitment website in the industry to provide job seekers who are blind with full and equal access to all of its products and services including mobile applications, Attorney General Martha Coakley, Monster Worldwide, Inc. and the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) announced today.

 
The announcement is the result of an agreement with the AG’s Office and the NFB and provides meaningful benefit to individuals nationwide who are blind or visually impaired, including more than 35,000 residents in Massachusetts. As part of the agreement, Monster will contribute $50,000 to the Commonwealth that will be used to fund the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind’s (MCB) job internship program. Monster will also make a $50,000 contribution to the NFB and serve as the title sponsor of the NFB’s annual convention in 2013. 
 
“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,” AG Coakley said. “We are pleased to have worked with the NFB and Monster to make the company’s valuable products and services accessible and to provide better employment opportunities to job seekers who are blind, visually impaired or have other print disabilities such as dyslexia.  We are hopeful that with the ability to access written information in an audible text to speech format, these users will now have access to jobs, and better jobs, than ever before.  We want technology to improve people’s lives, not create obstacles or barriers.”  
 
“Over the past year, a team at Monster has been working closely with teams from the National Federation of the Blind and the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office to enhance our Monster.com website in a way that will provide more opportunities for blind job seekers to find jobs,” said Mark Conway, Chief Information Officer, Monster Worldwide. “Although portions of our site were already accessible, we all agreed we could do more. Based on the work of these teams, the Monster.com site will be enhanced to make its website and mobile applications accessible to blind job seekers. This has been an enormous undertaking and is an exciting accomplishment for which we can all be proud.”
 
“The National Federation of the Blind works for full and equal access by blind Americans to all forms of digital information,” said Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind. “Access to digital information and applications is critical to success in the twenty-first century in all areas of life, including searching and applying for career opportunities. We are therefore pleased that Monster is making this commitment to full and equal access to its website and mobile applications. We also thank the Attorney General of Massachusetts for being such a strong partner and advocate for accessibility.”
 
“We are excited to partner with Monster and the National Federation of the Blind to provide access to job opportunities available to individuals who are blind,” said Commissioner Janet LaBreck of the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind. “The MCB internship program enables individuals the opportunity to access early work experience.  Utilizing accessible technology available on Monster’s website to conduct a job search ensures that individuals who are blind can independently and successfully perform the same tasks as other job seeking candidates.” 
 
To make its website and mobile applications accessible to job seekers who are blind, Monster is  making them compatible with innovative technology called screen access software that renders on-screen information into Braille or speech so that blind individuals can use keyboard commands to access the same information as sighted users. 
 
In accordance with the agreement, Monster is in the process of making its desktop and mobile websites fully and equally accessible and will have its mobile applications accessible within two years. Monster has also ensured the templates employers use to post job advertisements on its site will be fully and equally accessible within six months. 
 
Monster will also train its customer service representatives to assist users who are blind and will establish a standing committee to oversee implementation of the agreement and other issues related to accessibility in the future. In addition, Monster has agreed to work with the NFB to encourage higher education programs to incorporate accessible design and assistive technology in to their core curricula.  
 
The agreement is the most recent result of collaboration between AG Coakley’s Office and the NFB. Past collaborations have included making Apple’s iTunes services and Cardtronics ATMs fully and equally accessible to the blind.
 
State and federal laws not only prohibit disparate treatment of individuals with disabilities in employment and housing, but also require that all businesses operating places of public accommodation provide people with disablities with full and equal enjoyment of their goods, services, and facilities.
 
Monster.com is the worldwide leader in connecting people to jobs and provides a full array of job seeking, career management, recruitment and talent management products and services in more than 40 countries.
 
This matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Genevieve C. Nadeau and Paralegal Bethany Brown of Attorney General Coakley’s Civil Rights Division, and Assistant Attorney General Maura Healey, Chief of Attorney General Coakley’s Public Protection and Advocacy Bureau.