Rob Carr, CPACC, ICT Accessibility Program Manager for Oklahoma ABLE Tech is a man who wears many hats. Primarily, he runs a program providing expertise on functional and technical accessibility, accessibility policy, and institutionalizing accessibility. His main focus, as an Accessibility Coordinator, is to manage the Web Accessibility in Higher Education Project (WAHEP) at institutions of higher education throughout Oklahoma, and to create more accessible digital campus environments.
When he is not busy coordinating technical accessibility and accessibility policy programs, he is involved with channeling his passions of technical and educational accessibility to other outlets. One of these other outlets, since 2016, has been with the non-profit Knowbility and the AIR judging competition.
Rob’s background as an accessibility program manager was a logical fit for the AIR competition. His area of expertise in training and guiding state agencies, higher education institutions, and private sector partners to transform isolated accessibility efforts into sustainable programs has provided valuable insight dating back to 2016 when he first became involved with Knowbility and the AIR competition. Since his initial involvement, he has served in various roles including being a team mentor and a judge for the last five years.
Honoring Rob’s long-standing passion for accessibility, this year he took on a new role, working “behind the curtain” of the AIR 2020 competition by serving on the AIR advisory board, and as a lead coordinating judge for the competition. Serving as a lead judge, one of Rob’s main responsibilities involved coordinating the pairing of a record number of 38 judges to evaluate each competition site. Not only was 2020 a record for the number of judges selected to evaluate teams, it also set a record number of 32 nonprofits and design teams completing the competition!
Judges paired by experience into groups of two, expanded on their own learning and community building through the evaluation process. For Carr, “The goal is to provide strategies and skills that broadly apply to creating and acquiring accessible technology in various organizations, non-profits, and businesses”: The highlight of the competition is to continue to spread the community learning spark through the web developers and designers who create and improve the nonprofits websites with accessibility in mind.
About Knowbility’s Award-winning AIR Program
The Accessibility Internet Rally (AIR) is a unique, hands-on, intense web accessibility awareness program. Started by Knowbility in 1998 as a local one-ish-day event in Austin, Texas, the program has evolved into an international program over several weeks that brings web accessibility to nonprofits and artists, groups who want to be welcoming for all people but don’t usually have the resources for accessible web design.
During an AIR build, teams of web developers sign up as volunteers, learn the latest techniques regarding accessibility through Knowbility’s customized, intensive live trainings, and then those volunteers put their skills to work online building accessible web sites for nonprofits, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), charities, community groups, schools, artists (musicians, dance groups, painters, photographers, sculptors, poets, etc. who have public presentations of their art) and other mission-based initiatives. The main, annual competition is entirely online, involving more than 300 volunteers – making it a unique, highly-impactful and pioneering virtual volunteering event.
AIR 2020 concluded this year with an awards ceremony on January 7, 2021. To learn more about AIR, visit air-rallies.org. There you can also learn about the different ways of becoming involved with the upcoming 2021 AIR event. We’re honored to have involvement and support from friends like Rob Carr.