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DLA News Archive

News | Oct. 4, 2022

Editorial: Partnership helps hazardous materials office achieve IT accessibility

By Program Analyst Cristina Zunich DLA Information Operations

The Defense Logistics Agency’s Hazardous Materials Management System Program Management Office recently achieved an important milestone by bringing full information technology accessibility to its HMMS application.

Codified in federal law as Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, IT accessibility sets minimum standards for content creators and developers in the federal space. These standards ensure that DLA employees using assistive technology software tools have equivalent access to information and content as their peers. Information technology accessibility is essential to maximizing the productivity of the DLA workforce, and it supports the director’s strategic plan by enabling employees to succeed. 

“This outstanding achievement is a testament to solid teamwork, investment in training, and rigorous testing practices,” said Rich Harmon, DLA’s IT accessibility manager and Section 508 Coordinator. “The HMMS team and the tight knit partnership between the Enterprise IT Accessibility Team and the Enterprise Test Team moved this application by leaps and bounds towards full accessibility, and that benefits the entire DLA team.”

Historically, the HMMS application was inaccessible to assistive technology tools and to the workforce relying on them (DLA’s JAWS, Dragon, and Zoom Text software users). But strong collaboration between the HMMS PMO and the Office of the Chief Engineer (J62L) yielded the accessibility breakthroughs while producing an overall reduction in defects with no additional costs or delays.

“This is a remarkable achievement, going from completely inaccessible to completely accessible,” said DLA Enterprise Test Director Vince Currie, who noted that the J62L Enterprise Test Team conducted Section 508 IT accessibility testing on HMMS with the current suite of accessibility tools in use at DLA and found zero defects. 

A woman presents in front of a large projection screen.
Environmental Protection Specialist Rene Mayo lectures during a hazardous materials disposal training session at the Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center in Battle Creek, Michigan, in July.
A woman presents in front of a large projection screen.
220728-D-OS362-02
Environmental Protection Specialist Rene Mayo lectures during a hazardous materials disposal training session at the Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center in Battle Creek, Michigan, in July.
Photo By: Jace Armstrong
VIRIN: 220728-D-OS362-026

So how, exactly, did the HMMS team achieve such an accomplishment? 

Nearly all HMMS team members - software engineers, developers, architects, customer service, test engineers, product management and the management office – completed IT accessibility training for their job roles arranged through the J62L Enterprise IT Accessibility Team. Twenty-seven people in all (both government and contractors) took training offered through Deque University that was customizable to their individual roles and completed over two months. The coursework came at no cost to the HMMS PMO and did not impact the timeline for software development. 

Overall feedback from training participants indicated that the training was very helpful, it aided in the development of the HMMS module release and will be used in future module releases.

For any questions on Enterprise IT Accessibility, please contact the Section 508 Compliance & Assistive Technology Branch <508compliance@dla.mil>. For any questions on Enterprise Testing, please contact <vincent.currie@dla.mil>.