Three Questions for David Brown and Helen Cademartori
October 26, 2020
This October is the 75th observance of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). To celebrate, the Executive Sponsor and Deputy Sponsor of the All Access Employee Resource Group - David L. Brown and Helen Cademartori - share what NDEAM means to them and how Berkeley Lab has become more accessible over the years.
What does NDEAM mean to you?
Helen: National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is an important milestone that helps to publicize the importance of increasing access and opportunities in the workplace for people with disabilities of all kinds.
NDEAM holds particular significance for me since I served for many years as an advocate for and a member of the Board of Advisors for Computer Technologies Program (CTP), a school in Berkeley that provides computer training and extensive job placement services for people with physical disabilities. I saw firsthand the life-changing impact the program had on the graduates and the incredible talents CTP graduates brought to their employers.
What improvements have you seen in Lab inclusion and/or accessibility over the years, and what is your vision for the Lab’s future?
David: As a Lab staff member with a hearing disability, I’ve greatly appreciated the steps taken to improve accessibility for the hearing impaired at the Lab both physically and virtually. Most recently, I’m grateful to see best practices for improving accessibility in action, such as using built-in automatic captioning with presentation tools like Zoom and Google Slides.
As for the future, Berkeley Lab is a very challenging environment for people who are mobility impaired. We’ve been lucky to have the opportunity to upgrade our site significantly, with several exciting new buildings planned for the coming years. I’m looking forward to the day when all of our facilities are accessible both from a mobility perspective and to staff and visitors with other disabilities.
What is the best or most exciting or fulfilling part of being Executive and Deputy Sponsors for the All Access ERG?
Helen: First of all, serving with the talented and dedicated members of the All Access ERG is very rewarding. It is really exciting to see the Lab fully committing to raising awareness of and expanding accommodations for members of our community living with disabilities of all kinds. I am learning a lot about the issues facing so many of our colleagues, as well as the innovative and adaptive technologies/practices that we can incorporate to make the workplace more accessible.
David: I agree with Helen, it is really awesome to see the enthusiasm and commitment of the ERG members to these issues. It’s also great to see outside-the-box thinking, such as by bringing experts in mental health to discuss this topic and how it is particularly relevant for Lab staff.