Every year, government agencies in Minnesota spend millions of dollars on planning, construction, and maintenance projects for highways, airports, housing, and transit. Let’s say you’re a person of color, woman or disabled owner of a business who’s interested in working on one of them.
Your first step is to go to the website of the Minnesota Unified Certification Program (mnucp.org), jointly developed and maintained by four government agencies – the City of Minneapolis, the Metropolitan Airports Commission, the Metropolitan Council, and the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
Now there’s good news in store if you’re a business owner who’s had problems with websites because they aren’t accessible for people with disabilities. The MNUCP website is now accessible at the exceptionally high level of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA established by the World Wide Web Consortium.
Why it’s easier
Here are a few examples:
You don’t need a mouse to move around the website—your keyboard alone will do the job.
If you double the size of your screen view, the website will keep all the information within your view without cutting off the edges.
Visual contrast is strong. The website makes it very easy to use an assistive screen reader.
The incorporated video has an accompanying transcript.
“We made the accessibility improvements because we want to include all potentially qualified business owners. Plus it makes good business sense,” said Aaron Koski, assistant director of the Council’s Office of Equal Opportunity.
“We can expand and diversify our pool of vendors who can work on agency projects,” he said, ”and it helps advance the Council’s goal of expanding equity in the region. It’s appropriate that the website improvements generally coincide with events marking the May 19 World Accessibility Day.”
In its pilot phase, the project drew on extensive feedback from a number of DBE contractors with disabilities and Council employees who are visually impaired.