At Deque, our mission is to ensure that the web is accessible to everyone. That’s why we strive to develop innovative products and services that will help pave the way towards digital inclusion.
That’s also why we created the comprehensive courses offered at Deque University – to empower people with the right tools to make digital accessibility and inclusion a reality.
A few months ago, our Director of Training Paul Bohman came up with a plan to offer scholarships to Deque University for people with disabilities. Since launch, the program has endowed over 670 applicants with scholarships, and the majority of the recipients are enrolled in two or more courses at Deque University.
It’s our hope that both our scholarship recipients and our other “students” at Deque U will use their newly acquired accessibility knowledge to gain a foothold in the industry; at the very least, we hope they’ll bring their digital accessibility skills to their current or future workplace. It may sound a bit ambitious, but we hope that these courses will have a lasting impact on the people who receive them. Knowledge is power, and it’s a huge part of our goal here at Deque – to inspire self-empowerment. With the right tools and training, anyone can become an active accessibility evangelist.
Marcy Sutton posted recently about this on her blog, Accessibility Wins. “Accessible design and development is critical for people with disabilities to be treated equally on the web,” Marcy wrote. “But it also provides job opportunities to people as developers, testers, project managers, and so on. Deque U’s scholarship provides a concrete step for people with disabilities to advance their skills and learn about accessibility as a career. That’s pretty awesome.”
We couldn’t have said it better. Recently we reached out to some of these Deque University Scholarship recipients to see how the scholarship has affected their lives. We are featuring one of those stories here, and will share others in the future.
Alex Fatum was one of our first scholarship recipients. A computer engineering major at the University of North Texas, Alex has Dyslexia and ADHD. “I have struggled my whole learning career,” he said. “ I didn’t really learn to read until the end of first grade. My parents would spend hours after school each day with me, just trying to get me to understand how to read. They taught me the skills of perseverance and determination. I learned that I can achieve anything I want, if I put in the work and have faith…Going into a computer related field, these courses will help expand my knowledge, and help me create the accessible computers of tomorrow.”
To date Alex has completed 12 courses at Deque University and is in the process of taking 3 other courses. He appreciates how thorough the courses are. Most importantly, he says, “the courses have opened my eyes to the way that software has become inaccessible for a portion of the population. The internet is a record containing almost all of human knowledge, no one should be excluded from learning any of it. Going into the future, website designers and software engineers need to be cognizant of those who have a difficulty using a computer with a classic mouse and keyboard.” With regards to his own future, Alex is hopeful that the knowledge he gains from the courses will help propel his career forward. “I hope to integrate what I have learned from the Deque courses into software I write and computer systems I build. Everyone should be able to use a computer. Nothing should limit any of us.”
We couldn’t agree more. And in keeping with that mindset, we’ll continue to post more inspirational stories like Alex’s on our blog.
If you think you might qualify for a scholarship to Deque University, check out our post on How to Apply .