Clinton Brown III
Revenue Planning Manager, Altice USA
How has the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) impacted your employment journey?
The ADA has impacted my life in so many ways, be it accommodations or assistive technology. Public transportation, air travel, and driving are huge areas of impact as well for me in my life. I think the ADA has given people with disabilities a sense of hope and a seat at the table where they otherwise had no representation, and that to me is the biggest impact.
If the ADA did not exist, what do you think your life would be today?
If the ADA did not exist, I think my life would be much different in the sense of availability of work, the availability of assistive technology for driving, and the way people with disabilities are thought of in the planning of our society.
What was the best career advice you have received?
The best career advice I’ve received is from a manager of mine who told me during tumultuous times at the company to let things play out and not to worry. He was explaining how companies go through management turnover and ups and downs, but to focus on your career and not make decisions based on outside forces or happenings.
What main point do you want all employers to understand about the value of people with disabilities?
The main point I’d want all employers to understand about the value of people with disabilities is that they bring the same exact energy, focus, attention, dedication, and skill to the table as any non-disabled candidate. I would say that employers can find many candidates with disabilities in the job market who can also bring exciting intangible mindsets to a group that may otherwise be one dimensional in their thought process.
What is one thing employers can do today to build a pipeline of diverse talent that includes people with disabilities?
Employers can do several things to build a pipeline of diverse talent that includes people with disabilities. First, they should start a D&I program and have an affinity group dedicated to employees with disabilities. Secondly, they should connect with local organizations and groups in the community that specialize in staffing and training people with disabilities. Lastly, they should have a national partnership with an organization that advocates nationally and has a job board that has access to a large group of employees with disabilities. Through this national partner they can gain access to webinars and training sessions for their companies to help improve the culture inside their own firm regarding how they see and treat people with disabilities.
Thinking ahead to ADA40, what might the workplace look like for people with disabilities?
What needs to change is employers must be more open minded and, honestly, less discriminatory. They need to interview for open positions more, and they need to increase the availability of work-from-home jobs in their companies. That will open up more opportunities to qualified people with disabilities.
What advice do you have for young professionals with disabilities seeking their first job or advancement within their current company?
My advice is to use the internet to your advantage, use technology to your advantage, and expose that to its utmost. If transportation is a problem for you, learn how to work remotely, learn how to find jobs off your laptop. Don’t get discouraged when you get a “no” or get turned down. For 99 no’s, they’ll be a “yes” somewhere. This doesn’t just apply to people with disabilities, it applies to everyone. Young professionals with disabilities need to know they are not alone in the struggle.