Berkeley Lab’s Talent Outreach team serves as the link between the Lab and its East Bay neighbors – residents, business, civic organizations, and community-based organizations.
Regional Center of East Bay (RCEB) works in partnership with many individuals and agencies to plan and coordinate services and support for people with developmental disabilities, family members and community leaders in the Alameda and Contra Costa counties. Meet Dean Carr, a participant in RCEB’s paid internship program, who shares his experience working at Berkeley Lab.
2022 Computer Support Intern
Joint Genome Institute
I have been working at Berkeley Lab for roughly four months as an extension of the Joint Genome Institute (JGI) Computer Support group. My responsibilities include support tasks around the Integrative Genomics Building (IGB) as well as being actively involved in the JGI Inventory Project which aims to capture all machines and equipment being used in the building in a comprehensive visual database to keep track of usage, maintenance, and location.
Berkeley Lab is an exciting environment to work in. I am proud to support people who are brilliant and doing impactful, important work. My peak experience has been running support for the Secretary of U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s advisory board. There was a lot of technical setup and monitoring to make sure the DOE event went well live and I got to be part of the team to make sure the event went as smoothly as possible. I have really enjoyed my time working at and with Berkley Lab and would recommend others to consider interning here as well.
My advice for those who are interested in creating an inclusive environment and being an ally to those with visible and invisible developmental disabilities in the workplace is to be aware that everyone is affected differently so it is helpful to work with each person to support their way of functioning so that they can thrive.
Berkeley Lab has partnered with East Bay Innovations (EBI) and Project SEARCH for many years, with several former interns transitioning to become full-time Lab employees. Project SEARCH offers clients the opportunity to develop valuable and transferable work skills through an on-the-job vocational training program and job placement program. Meet Lauren McCaffrey, EBI’s Project SEARCH graduate and Talent Outreach intern, who shares her career journey below.
2021 Talent Outreach Intern
Human Resources Division
People have always asked me what it is like to have a learning disability. I’ve been asked: “Is it hard to do certain activities?” and “How hard is it to get a job?” And it has taken a lot of patience, perseverance, and motivation to get a job while having a learning disability.
When I first started looking for employment, it was difficult to overcome the hurdles my learning disabilities caused. I have ADHD, a developmental disorder, as well as anxiety, which makes it hard for me to organize my thoughts and pay attention. Processing information can be difficult, but I knew I was most successful with a routine. But despite sending my resume to every retail store and restaurant in my community, I would not hear back or be rejected. I had no idea what I was doing wrong or right. Then, about seven years ago, my parents heard about transitional living programs for individuals with disabilities such as autism and other learning differences. We jumped at this opportunity and I have since been a part of amazing programs such as East Bay Innovations and College Internship Program Berkeley which have helped me develop new skill sets, gain invaluable experience, and grow my self-confidence.
I am so grateful for this amazing opportunity at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to work as a Talent Outreach Intern and connect with college students about opportunities at the Lab. I’m also proud to say I also recently obtained a certificate in Social Work and Human Services through Berkeley City College. I feel incredibly confident in my newfound abilities and supported by my team, knowing that they will be more than willing to help me as I continue to live and thrive with my disability.
My learning differences may have been a hurdle at times, but I have learned many tools and techniques on how to cope and work through them. I’ve also learned the power of communication and disclosure. No one should feel ashamed to have a job coach, ask for more time for certain tasks, or request new tools; it helps all of us succeed.