Training activities are instructional events, usually planned in advance for a specific purpose or audience that are designed to increase participants’ knowledge, skills, and competencies regarding AT. Such events can be delivered to large or small groups, in-person, or via telecommunications or other distance education mechanisms. In general, participants in training can be individually identified and could complete an evaluation of the training. Examples of training include classes, workshops, conference sessions, and presentations that have a goal of increasing skills, knowledge, and competency. Training and/or presentations intended only to increase general awareness of AT are considered public awareness events.
Although the AT Act does not include a formal definition of training, the Act describes training as “activities that enhance the knowledge, skills, and competencies of individuals…(from entities described above) which may include—
(aa) general awareness training on the benefits of assistive technology and the … funding sources available to assist targeted individuals and entities in acquiring assistive technology;
(bb) skills-development training in assessing the need for assistive technology devices and assistive technology services;
(cc) training to ensure the appropriate application and use of assistive technology devices, assistive technology services, and accessible technology for e-government functions;
dd) training in the importance of multiple approaches to assessment and implementation necessary to meet the individualized needs of individuals with disabilities; and
(ee) technical training on integrating assistive technology into the development and implementation of service plans, including any education, health, discharge, Olmstead, employment, or other plan required under Federal or State law” (Section 4 (b)(i)(II)).
Distinguishing Training Activities from Public Awareness Activities
Training activities have more depth and breadth than public awareness activities and are focused on skill building and competency development. If the purpose of a training session is to create awareness, the training session should be counted under public awareness, not under training. In general, participants in training can be individually identified, while in awareness activities it may not be possible to identify each individually. Working with individual consumers on how to use a particular AT device or troubleshooting problems with devices should be reported under Public Awareness as Information and Assistance.
Distinguishing Training from Technical Assistance
Training is designed to teach, present or guide individuals in order to impart knowledge, skills and competencies. Technical assistance is focused on providing extensive assistance to state or local agencies or other entities (rather than individuals) and generally involves problem solving to achieve a mutually agreed upon goal. Technical assistance may involve multiple contacts and interactions over an extended period of time. In some cases, training may be a component of technical assistance. Training that is provided as part of technical assistance can be reported here, but only if the training was one of other several technical assistance activities. If training was the only technical assistance activity, it can be reported as either training or technical assistance, but not both.
Performance Measures and Required Data Collection Elements
A performance measure is required for the training topic area of Information and Communication Technology Accessibility (ICT). No other training topic areas have a required performance measure. Please note that ICT is updated terminology and thus differs from the “Information Technology/Telecommunications accessibility” language used in the AT Act.
Training topics are organized into five primary categories:
- AT Products/Services – training focused on AT: such as instruction to increase skills and competency in using AT, and integrating AT into different settings
- AT Funding/Policy/ Practice – training focused on funding sources and related laws, policies, and procedures required to implement and deliver access to AT devices/services and related.
- Information and Communication Technology Accessibility – training focused on accessible information and communication technology (ICT) including web access, software accessibility, and procurement of accessible ICT.
- Combination of any/all of the above
The APR required data elements include the number and general characteristics of individuals who participated in training, the topics of training, and the geographic distribution of individuals who participated in the training.
There is no explicit reporting requirement for Transition but Section 4(e)(3)(B)(i)(III) of the Act includes a requirement that statewide AT programs provide training/technical assistance to assist students with disabilities who receive transition services under IDEA and adults with disabilities maintaining or transitioning to community living. Section 4(e)(3)(A) also requires that at least 5% of the money spent on State Leadership activities be used for the transition training and/or transition technical assistance activities. Training focused on education transition and community transition must be reported unless transition technical assistance activities are reported. Detailed information on the reporting of ICT and transition activities can be found in the instructions for the Annual Progress Report (APR) and the APR reporting instrument.
Using Data for Program Improvement
Developing the new state plan is an opportunity to review definitions (found in the instructions document on the CATADA website) with staff and subcontractors to insure fidelity in your data collection and reporting. Information on distinguishing training from public awareness and technical assistance as well as information regarding the classification of training topics (especially what “counts” as ICT training) should be reviewed. Although there is no specific reporting requirement for transition, if you choose to meet the transition requirement through training (rather than technical assistance) consider whether you are, in fact, providing training to assist students with disabilities who receive transition services under IDEA (either transition from Part C to Part B or transition from school to post-secondary or employment) and adults with disabilities maintaining or transitioning to community living.
Are you reaching the “targeted” populations described in the AT Act? You can generate a report that compares this activity by year. You can also compare your state’s trends with the national trend data.
How can we explain the distribution of training participants by role (e.g. individuals with disabilities; representatives of employment)? For example:
- Do we need to change or increase outreach to one or more targeted groups to increase their participation in training, and if so, which ones and why?
- Can we accomplish this through improved coordination and collaboration with targeted public and private entities?
- Do we need to develop a new strategy to reach training participants who should be the focus of ICT or transition training?
Trainings by Topic
- How does the distribution of training topics compare with national percentages?
- Does our program look very different from the national picture, and if so, why?
- Has there been a shift in the distribution of training topics over the last three years and if so, how can we explain the trend (e.g. the staff person who conducted training on funding and policy retired last year)?
- Do we need to focus our training on different topics?
- What does that mean in terms of staff (or subcontractor or partner entity) capacity?
- Do we need to develop a new strategy to meet the ICT and transition requirements?
2017 APR Training Data Collection Update
The updated APR for 2017-2019 has a few minor changes in reporting of training data. A text box has been added to provide a description of a training activity related to ICT accessibility conducted during the reporting period. This narrative must be completed if training participants are reported in the ICT accessibility topic area in a previous data table. In addition, the 70% target for the ICT Performance Measure has been added to the table and an automatic calculation showing if the state met or did not meet that target.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a “high impact” or “innovative” training, as required by the APR?
The Annual Program Report (APR) requests a brief anecdote describing a high impact or innovative training conducted during the program year. This is an opportunity for the state AT program to highlight, in a short narrative, a training event of which it is particularly proud. An example of a high impact training may be one that results in the state’s adoption of a new policy of accessibility applying to all state websites. It may refer to a training that has a high impact as a result of the numbers of individuals trained. An innovative training could be one that uses unique delivery modes, reaches an audience that is different from the usual training participants, or is an AT-related topic that is unique or new.
We provide individualized training to consumers. How do we report the data?
Individualized training is considered public awareness and should be reported as such.
We had a booth at a conference and we provided a presentation session about our program and services, how do we report this data?
Both of these activities are Public Awareness events and should be reported as such. Only presentations that are designed to increase participants’ knowledge, skills, and competencies regarding AT should be reported as training.
We participated in a conference where we brought multiple AT items and set up a demonstration area. Attendees were able to try devices and some received training on devices. Can we report these as demonstrations and training?
General demonstrations of equipment and individualized trainings are a public awareness activity not a training.
Is there a minimum duration required for a session to be considered training?
There is no required length of time. However, a session must increase the skills and competencies of the participants to be considered training. Providing an overview of services and/or showing different AT devices does not meet the criteria to be considered training.
We are hosting a webinar in which we will review device/software features of a particular category of AT with participants. During the live webinar, participants will have the opportunity to ask questions in real time. Our learning objectives include attendees’ increased knowledge and skill in matching this kind of device/app to consumers. We plan to recruit broadly. Is this training?
Yes. Although the description of your event has some of the characteristics of a demonstration (exploration of features with a technology expert; ability for participants to ask questions in real time), it exactly meets the definition of training. This is an instructional event, planned in advance for a specific audience or purpose, designed to increase participants’ knowledge, skills, and competencies regarding AT. This would be a training counted under the category of “AT products/services”.
One of our signature training events is a statewide conference. We would like to use AT Act program funds to underwrite speaker honoraria and facility rental. Are there restrictions on either of these uses?
In accordance with Uniform Guidance §200.432, speaker honoraria and facility rental are allowable costs. Conference sponsors are cautioned not to pay speakers who are doing this work under this or another federal grant. Conference hosts/sponsors must exercise discretion and judgment in ensuring that conference costs are appropriate, necessary and managed in a manner that minimizes costs to the Federal award.
At our conference we want to distribute t-shirts to identify staff and volunteers working the conference (e.g. sighted guides and interpreters), and purchase promotional items for door prizes. Can we do this?
No, these are not allowable expenses. T-shirts and promotional items would fall under the Uniform Guidance §200.421 restrictions regarding Advertising and Public Relations and federal grant funds cannot be used.
Our staff was an invited speaker on AT funding at a statewide AT conference in a neighboring state, sponsored by that state’s AT Act program. She did her own session evaluation and collected information on the attendees and their satisfaction with the training. Can we count it, even though the event occurred in another state?
Yes, assuming the session meets the definition of “training”. Caution: If the hosting state did an overall conference evaluation that includes your session, there’s the risk of this data being “double counted”. It makes sense to discuss evaluation and reporting with the hosting program prior to the conference.
Our staff did a training session on the challenges of matching home automation as an ATIA webinar in September. ATIA provided the session feedback they collected. Can we count it, even though the event was virtual and reached people in other states? What if the evaluation data was not received until the following federal report period?
Yes, you can count this training session even though others outside of your state attended, as long as you obtained the requisite information about attendees (e.g. RUCC) and satisfaction data. It makes sense to coordinate with the sponsoring entity beforehand to make sure their evaluation form contains all the data elements you will need for reporting. It is advisable to count the event AND the associated data in the program year in which you received the data.
Our AT subcontractor does a multi-session training about AT for OT students. There are student fees associated with the course, which is competency-based and specific in its focus. Can we collect and “count” performance measures for this activity, even though it is not free to participants?
There is no prohibition against charging for activities performed and reported by the AT Act. However, programs are encouraged to develop policies and procedures delineating circumstances under which training is free and when there will be a charge. For example, a training that is customized for a specific audience in response to a specific request for that training may have a fee, although the basic “AT (type) for (diagnosis/age/activity) may be offered at no cost.
Must a program provide Information and Communication Technology Accessibility training?
What type of ICT training must be provided?
AT programs are required to provide training on the importance, development, application, and integration of accessibility for information and communications technologies. This can include laws related to ICT, organization infrastructure to address accessibility, development of accessible documents, multimedia, and websites, procurement policies, accessible communications, and other technology and communication components related to ICT infrastructure.
Is training for computer access or phones considered ICT training?
No. ICT training can be distinguished from other trainings in that it addresses policies, development, integration, and/or infrastructure related to accessible ICT. Specific AT devices, hardware, and/or software is not ICT training and should be reported under the AT Products/Services category.
What are the performance measures for Information and Communication Technology Accessibility Training?
There are two possible outcomes related to ICT training: 1) Information and communication technology procurement or development policies, procedures, or practices will be improved or better implemented to ensure accessibility and/or 2) Training or technical assistance will be developed or implemented to ensure accessibility of information and communication technology.
Does the ICT training count only if the participants are IT professionals?
Participants are usually representatives of technology and are individuals who interacted with the AT program primarily for purposes related to accessible technology (using computers, software, websites, telecommunications, office equipment, and media). This category can include technology experts such as computer programmers, web and application developers, information technology professionals and procurement officials, e.g. the owner of a web consulting business; a university director of Information Technology. In some cases, participants may fall into other categories such as education (for example, the teacher who runs the “computer club” at the high school; graduate students in computer sciences). Whether your training “counts” as ICT training depends not so much on the topic or the identity of the participants, but whether the training is designed to result in meeting the performance measure requirements.
What if our program does not have staff that are skilled in this topic area?
The AT3 Center can assist state programs with ICT training and technical assistance needs in order to build capacity within states. Contact AT3 to discuss your specific TA needs.
Where can I find more information on specific laws related to ICT?
Access to information and communication technology (ICT) is addressed by the US Access Board standards and guidelines issued under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 255 of the Communications Act.
Must a program provide training on Transition?
AT Programs must implement at least two required types of transition activities. One activity must be related to school transition (e.g., secondary school to post-school) and one must be related to community living transition (e.g. congregate living to community living). The activity conducted may be either a training event or a technical assistance initiative and should only be reported once in the appropriate section of the APR.
What is the fiscal requirement for transition activities?
Section 4(e)(3)(A) of the AT Act requires that at least 5% of the money spent on State Leadership activities be used for the transition training and/or transition technical assistance activities.
How do programs calculate the 5% requirement?
The 5% is a required minimum and is calculated based on the expenditure of funds used for state leadership activities; not the full award. This expenditure should align with your state plan and APR.
So You are Planning a Virtual AT Conference Challenges and Hints for a Successful Event (video)
Using Zoom to Conduction Remote Training (video)
Using Zoom to Support AT Activities (PDF)
For training and technical assistance related to the state leadership activity training requirement, Contact the AT3 Center
OMB Grant Rules (apply to all federal grants and include the Uniform Cost Principles)
HHS Rules for Grant Awards (these are the same as the general OMB rules, they just have different Section numbers specific to HHS)
The goal of the ICT Accessibility Community of Practice is to provide training and resources to support the efforts of AT Act Programs working to deliver ICT training and technical assistance in their states and to provide a forum for Programs to share best practices. Email Rob Carr to join email@example.com.
The ICT Accessibility Resources webpage provides a repository of past training materials and numerous other resources on ICT accessibility related to general information, procurement, testing and assessment, multimedia, documents, social media, and computer and mobile device access.
The Georgia Tech Center for Inclusive Design and Innovation (CIDI) is a research and service center that provides ICT expertise on unmet needs in higher education, government, non-profits, and corporations throughout the United States. They offer a variety of services to support the provision of accessible ICT.
Oklahoma Able Tech offers ICT expertise and services and shares a list of some of their favorite resources to help as you create more accessible information technology products.
The Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT) is a multi-faceted initiative to foster collaboration and action around accessible technology in the workplace.
Teach Access is a collaborative effort of higher education, industry, and advocacy to create models for teaching and training students of technology to think and build inclusively and create accessible experiences with ICT.
The US Access Board develops standards and guidelines related to ICT federal legislation.
WebAim offers training and services related to website accessibility.
The National Technical Assistance Center on Transition assists State Education Agencies, Local Education Agencies, State VR agencies, and VR service providers in implementing evidence-based and promising practices ensuring students with disabilities, including those with significant disabilities, graduate prepared for success in postsecondary education and employment.
The Center on Technology and Disability is funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). The Center is designed to increase the capacity of families and providers to advocate for, acquire, and implement effective assistive and instructional technology (AT/IT) practices, devices, and services.
The National Council on Independent Living advances independent living and the rights of people with disabilities. Their services include training and resources on independent living skills for transition to the community.
The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging is a 501c(3) membership association representing America’s national network of 622 Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) and providing a voice in the nation’s capital for the 256 Title VI Native American aging programs. Their resources include information on transition and livable communities for aging adults.