AT&T Inc.

10/20/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/21/2021 08:04

NDEAM: Taking the ‘dis’ out of job opportunities for those with disabilities

Mazrui, who is blind, said the biggest hurdle to success is perception, or more accurately, misperception. "Most people don't have a lot of experience working with people with disabilities, so they don't feel comfortable. We need to create those experiences and talk about disabilities, much like the way mental health and mental illness are being destigmatized. We normalize it," Susan said. "Expand those experiences and you collapse the misconceptions."

AT&T's workforce is made up of over 7,000 employees who have self-identified as having a disability via AT&T iCount. The #iCount program allows all U.S. employees of AT&T to voluntarily (and confidentially) self-identify online in any or all of four categories: race, veteran status, disabilities and LGBTQ.

Susan explained that people with disabilities often fall into a "tyranny of low expectations." Because those expectations are so low, the level of opportunities provided are as well. The way around that: "Don't let our own fears and misconceptions limit someone else." Susan points to the Middle East, where there has been a push to use the term "persons with determination" to focus on the skills and strengths that employees with disabilities bring to the workforce.