As time passes, technology becomes more commonplace and increasingly crucial for most aspects of life, be it work, school, or leisure. As we integrate and evolve with digital spaces, equal access to technology and digital resources is essential for people with disabilities to ensure they can fully participate and engage with the world. That is our mission– to create a world of endless possibilities for people who are blind or have low vision.

To make that possible, we need to provide our designers and developers with the necessary know-how to advocate and create products and spaces that are fully accessible and inclusive, which may sound deceivingly simple. For change to last, it needs to leave a thorough impression on both ends– which led to the creation of the AFB Talent Lab. But let’s hear more about it from Hanna Melo Fugulin, 22, AFB Talent Lab’s Ambassador:

“When I joined AFB over two years ago, I expected to learn a new skill: how to make websites accessible. What I got went far beyond. I met many people who represent different facets of accessibility: specialists, authentic users, clients, and other learners. It was completely different than sitting down and taking a course. AFB provided me with a thoroughly immersive experience that allowed me to work directly with people who are involved in the world of accessibility. In addition to developing my content and technical skills, I was able to see, feel, and engage with the actual impact we are creating with Digital Inclusion. Besides applicable knowledge, my time as a learner with AFB shaped my perspective in a much broader sense, allowing me to truly understand and empathize with something I had never given thought to before. I’m most grateful for it teaching me to think inclusively in every aspect of my life.

Because of that, I was thrilled to help develop a structured program that would give others this experience. We created learning modules with our accessibility experts, as well as activities and simulated projects. We established connections with mentors and apprentices to support and guide our participants. Using that in addition to real client projects, hands-on experiences, and digital credentials, we constructed a flexible, immersive program to give others the marketable skills to help bridge the accessibility knowledge gap. Now, two years into the launch of Talent Lab, we are proud of our cohorts and excited to continue to grow and expand our reach so we can impact the people who will impact the world.”

One of these participants is Alexis Hubbard, who joined the program as an intern in 2023. Here is what she shared about her experience:

“When I began working as an intern for AFB, I knew very little about digital accessibility. It wasn’t a topic that was discussed in depth in any of my classes, and during the few times it was mentioned, the discussions were brief and vague. When I came across this internship opportunity, I was a bit apprehensive due to my lack of experience in the field, but the position seemed extremely welcoming and beginner friendly, so I just went for it. I can safely say that applying to be an intern at AFB was one of the best decisions I have ever made, as it introduced me to something I had no clue I was passionate about: digital accessibility. As I neared my last couple semesters of college, I felt lost as I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but starting my position with AFB almost immediately reignited a flame in me and gave me a newfound sense of purpose.

At AFB, I am constantly learning new things, which is such a fulfilling feeling. As an intern, working on the various modules, assignments, and projects gives me hands-on experience with what it is like to work in the field of digital accessibility. All of this content covers a wide range of material, such as WCAG guidelines, the execution of multiple types of testing, and information on common accessibility and usability issues, just to name a few. The variance in this content and in the assigned work is something I am extremely grateful for as there’s always something new, keeping the process interesting and fun. Furthermore, AFB’s overall environment is amazing. Everyone I have had the pleasure of speaking to and working with has been so kind and encouraging. I really could not have asked for a better internship experience.”

Read more about how you can join Alexis and Hanna and start your digital inclusion journey through AFB’s Digital Accessibility Bootcamp, and be part of the driving force creating an accessible and inclusive world!