The AMAC Accessibility Solutions and Research Center (AMAC) is a service center located in Atlanta, Georgia. As of 2015, it offers disability related services and quality control to colleges and universities in 43 out of the 50 United States. AMAC supports around 2,500 colleges and universities to accommodate and make accessible reading materials for students with learning disabilities.
Uniquely positioned as a social justice and entrepreneurial initiative within the University System of Georgia, AMAC operates under a business revenue membership and fee-for-service model with sustainability that is reinforced by the Georgia Tech Research Institute, which embraces research and development. AMAC utilizes a performance-based business model with a Director, Dr. Christopher Lee, and unit managers who lead service departments and projects, finances, and information technology development.
Although functioning as a system-wide and national service, AMAC is also a research center within the larger academic and research community at Georgia Tech. It is located in the Block Candy Company building in the Means Street Historic District
In a dorm room on the University of Georgia campus, AMAC was founded by Christopher Lee and Noel Gregg to serve students with print-related disabilities. Through grassroots advocacy and the support of the disability community, the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities, and the University System of Georgia, the Alternative Media Access Center was created. Under the University of Georgia's Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, AMAC officially opened its doors in July 2006.
AMAC transitioned its operations to the Georgia Institute of Technologyand became a research and service center of Georgia Tech's College of Architecture in 2013. As a result of a rebranding process and the expansion of services, the Alternative Media Access Center discontinued using the name and began using just the acronym AMAC. It is now known as AMAC Accessibility Solutions & Research Center.
Functioning as a department of AMAC, Tools for Life, TFL, is Georgia's Assistive Technology Acts Program and is federally funded through the Assistive Technology Act of 1998 as Amended in 2004, more commonly known as the Tech Act.
Tools for Life provides more options for greater freedom by increasing access to and acquisition of assistive technology (AT) devices and services for Georgians of all ages and disabilities so they can live, learn, work, and play independently in communities of their choice. Tools for Life has been fulfilling the intent of the Tech Act through services provided by the TFL Network. These services include access to AT lending libraries at local Assistive Technology Resource Centers and Outreach Sites, AT assessments, device demonstrations, group and individual trainings, AT and computer reuse, and AT funding education.
Tools for Life has been responsible for supplying assistive technology toolkits to all 12 of the Georgia's aging offices since 2014.
AccessText serves as a liaison between publishers and universities across the country in order to deliver textbooks to students with disabilities. ATN ensures students with print disabilities have timely and affordable access. Promoting an accessible publishing approach, the network supports the delivery of alt-text files to students with print-related disabilities. In 2010, the program was awarded $1.1 million from the U.S. Department of Education to improve access to e-textbooks. Founded by the Association of American Publishers, AccessText is administered by AMAC. Publishers associated with the AccessText Network include:Cengage Learning
Charles C Thomas, Publisher
Dunedin Academic Press
F.A. Davis Company
John Wiley & Sons
Jones & Bartlett Learning
Lynne Rienner Publishers
Macmillan Higher Education
Ramsey Education Solutions
AccessGA is a joint initiative of the State of Georgia ADA Coordinator's Office and AMAC. It supports Georgia state agencies with accessible information and communication technology and promotes equal access for employees and customers with a wide range of disabilities. Services and resources of AccessGA include webinars, newsletters, technical assistance and hands-on training. AccessGA also conducts web accessibility audits using assistive technology software and devices to verify that an agency’s content is accessible.
Providing Real Opportunities for Income through Technology (PROFITT), a Second Chance Act project funded by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, is a grant collaboration that is establishing a model curriculum geared at positioning offenders for sustainable income upon release.
AMAC helps administer the prison curriculum program that teaches Braille transcription to offenders who are soon to be released and looking to return to the workforce.
The Center for Accessible Materials Innovation (CAMI) is funded by a First In The World grant from the United States Department of Education. CAMI serves minority-serving institutions by providing research on consumer information about accessibility and the under-utilization of accessible materials.
The Braille Unit offers braille translation, tactile graphics and embossing of textbooks for students with print related disabilities. To be time efficient and cost effective, they offer partial books and chapters, or graphics only, from both print materials and electronic text. As of 2014, AMAC's Braille Unit created a prison braille program at the Wheeler Correctional Facility in Alamo, GA. The program provides offenders with an opportunity to spend their time creating accessible media for thousands of post-secondary students.
AMAC's Captioning and Described Media unit offers remote real-time captioning, communication access real-time translation and text interpretation services to students with hearing and sight-related disabilities. The newest service offered by this unit is audio description.
As one of AMAC's initial services, the E-Text unit specializes in converting college textbooks to an accessible format for students with print related disabilities. The E-Text unit is able to produce customized projects including textbooks, PowerPoint, journals, tests, brochures, and workplace print materials, i.e. training and operating manuals. The unit specializes in accessible PDF, DOC, DAISY, and Learning Ally Audiobook formats.
In 2013, AMAC Accessibility Solutions and Research Center began to offer Mathematical Markup Language (MathML) conversion as a service. MathML converts the content and structure of mathematical notations to formats that can be read by screen reader software such as JAWS.
The Student Accommodation Manager is a secure, web-based database application designed to help postsecondary Disability Service Providers manage student data, disabilities, accommodations, case notes, and more. SAM is developed and hosted using Intuit's QuickBase and follows a software-as-a-service model where there is no software to install or server to manage or own. Essential functions such as system availability and backups are provided for you. Predefined reports, as well as a powerful report writer, allow you to quickly and easily find, filter and transform data. SAM can also serve as a forms repository and auto-generate accommodation notification letters.
AMAC provides Quality Assurance evaluations and training to corporate, governmental and non-profit organizations to ensure they are in compliance with both Section 508 and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
Awards WonInaugural First in The World Grant
Zero Project Innovative Practices in Accessibility 2014
White Cane Appreciation Award
Learning Disabilities Association of America Harrison Sylvester Award
Georgia Tech Campus Technology Innovators Award