PROJECTThe Registered Apprenticeship Occupations and Standards Center of Excellence

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    Digital Accessibility Technician

    Occupational Purpose and Context

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four adults in the United States have some type of disability that impacts major life activities. Accessible design is about creating websites and other digital content that enable users with disabilities, impairments, or other limitations to experience content like any other user. The American Foundation for the Blind’s 2023 study revealed 86 percent of participants in their Barriers to Digital Inclusion research had difficulty accessing websites for job searches; 78 percent faced challenges in accessing related apps.

    This digital accessibility technician framework introduces the holistic concept of design, development, and quality assurance with accessibility in the forefront and not in support of the other features. When designing an accessible building, each element is looked at individually, often through an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) lens; the same principles can be used when building a website or creating a document for online publication. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was amended in 1998 to require that all federal agencies make their electronic and information technology accessible. The competencies outlined in this framework can serve as a starting point for accessibility in design of digital content; introductory on-the-job learning and related technical instruction will be built upon throughout the apprenticeship. For example, a basic competency is the ability to work with Hypertext Mark-up Language (HTML), as HTML is enhanced to create tables and introduce JavaScript, ARIA, and various widgets.

    Public sector websites are required to utilize accessibility practices (ADA Title II). Having staff who can resolve accessibility issues in the design phase of both internal and public facing websites would allow for government entities to work more effectively and fulfill their ADA requirements. For participation in accessibility by design within the private sector, incorporating these standards into an employer’s talent pipeline ensures access to a diverse workforce that often has challenges accessing their job postings or when they are looking for valuable customers for their products and services.

    These standards were developed during the summer of 2023 using the WCAG Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Given the rapidly changing landscape of accessibility in the digital workplace, it is expected that WCAG 3.0 accessibility requirements will be introduced in the near future, requiring an update to the competencies and related technical instruction recommended in this framework.

    Contextually, digital accessibility comes from a place of empathy and understanding of the barriers that technology places on those with physical, sensory, cognitive, and any other disability to utilize all the information age has to offer. Throughout the research and conversations in the development of these competencies, a recurring theme has emerged: those who create digital content can build accessibility into their work processes to mitigate barriers during the development phase and a cadre of talent is needed to make existing content accessible.

    National Occupational Framework (pdf)

    Junior Cloud Engineer

    Occupational Purpose and Context

    Junior cloud engineers support cloud engineers in building, servicing, and maintaining cloud-based services and applications for a company. Additionally, they support businesses’ migration to cloud-based solutions that align with a company’s infrastructure. Junior cloud engineers can choose to specialize in a more specific role, such as cloud architecting (designing components for a company’s cloud architecture and position in cloud environments). They often implement and configure cloud-based infrastructure and software, maintain cloud-based services, create operating procedures, identify and correct problems, or create production and migration schedules. They provide support to the end user using various cloud platforms and provide solutions for end users having technical difficulties. Junior cloud engineers may also manage virtualized data centers, including servers, storage, backup and recovery, and networking.

    National Occupational Framework (pdf)

    Software Quality Assurance Tester

    Occupational Purpose and Context

    Software quality assurance testers (QA Testers) ensure that the functionality, design, and usability of an application or website are operating in accordance with client or stakeholder needs. QA Testers support quality delivery outcomes by conducting manual and automated testing of an application throughout the software delivery lifecycle.

    National Occupational Framework (pdf)