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Sean Janda-Forner of Comcast: Creating Opportunity for Entry Level Talent



Sean Janda-Forner

Talent Acquisitions Manager

Comcast


Sean Janda-Forner of Comcast is passionate about helping entry level talent enter the workforce. Continue reading to see how Comcast is supporting entry level talent and working to close the digital skills gap.




What is your role at Comcast?


I am a Manager of Talent Acquisition at Comcast. I support the hiring and retention of diverse talent for our Comcast Business unit. I also serve as the HR lead for our regional Employee Resource Groups.


Tell me about your career progression. 


I started my career working in higher education in an administrative and process-focused position. After receiving my master’s degree, I took a leap of faith by accepting a contracting role at Comcast.

It wasn’t until I started to fully embrace my uniqueness and be my authentic self 100% of the time that I was able to continue to progress in my career.

Looking back after ten years, it was the best professional decision I have ever made. During my time at Comcast, I’ve progressed from contract work to a full-time role, where I now lead a team of creative and innovative people that inspires me daily.


What obstacles have you had to overcome? 


I’ve faced multiple obstacles throughout my career. The first was breaking into the HR field with no prior experience. I had several interviews with other organizations to no avail due to a lack of experience in the corporate world and/or HR. I was lucky at the time to have interviewed with a director at Comcast who saw my passion and took a chance on me. 


Throughout my career, I have also struggled when interviewing. As a gay man, I thought that I had to “show up a certain way,” and that I couldn’t be myself. It wasn’t until I started to fully embrace my uniqueness and be my authentic self 100% of the time that I was able to continue to progress in my career. 


What are examples of entry level jobs at Comcast that do not require a four-year degree? 


At Comcast, there are several entry level roles that are perfect for individuals who are either starting their career journey or changing their career trajectory. Our frontline retail, technical installer, and customer care representative roles are just some examples of the career opportunities that Comcast has to offer.


What qualifications do you require for these jobs? 


Some general qualifications for these types of entry level roles are a high school diploma and one to two years of direct customer service experience. We serve our customers in the communities in which we live and work, so it is crucial that the employees we hire have a passion for the customer experience and a curiosity for technology.


Does your organization routinely provide on-the-job training for employees hired into these positions?


Comcast provides training for all positions. For our entry level positions, we provide a robust training program that typically consists of a combination of virtual training and on-site shadowing with a mentor. Training is an important part of our employees’ success and is not something that stops after a few weeks or even months. There are continued training and learning programs that Comcast provides to ensure our employees remain successful in their roles and also have opportunities to explore new roles and grow their career. 


What are some of the career paths associated with these positions? 


Most of the entry level roles at Comcast come with career growth opportunities for our employees. These typically consist of leveling up in their roles based on their skillset and performance. As a large company with opportunities available in multiple business units across the US, Europe and other locations, employees have the opportunity to forge their own path by exploring new positions outside of their own.


Can you tell us a little bit about Comcast’s Project UP?


Project UP stands for Unlimited Possibilities, and it is our ten-year, $1 billion initiative designed to make digital equity a reality.  Digital equity = Broadband Internet access + a computer + digital skills. Project UP incorporates our Internet Essentials program, which provides low-cost broadband Internet service at home to eligible low-income families, and our Lift Zones program, which are safe spaces in more than 1,250 community centers nationwide where people in the community can access the Internet for free. Project UP also supports initiatives that teach digital skills to adults and children so they can help them succeed in the workplace, in school, and more.


How does Comcast work with Per Scholas? What makes this relationship beneficial to Comcast?


Our partnership with Per Scholas spans across the country. We believe that by investing in organizations like Per Scholas, which provide training and upskilling to close the skills gap, we can continue our commitment to creating opportunities for communities to succeed. 

If you have the drive and determination to succeed, the rest can be trained. 

In Chicago, we serve on Per Scholas’ Chicago Advisory Board and partner with the organization to provide support through our year-round employee volunteer program, Team UP. Our volunteers have supported Per Scholas students through virtual mock interview sessions on multiple occasions for their training cohorts so that Per Scholas learners have an opportunity to practice their interviewing skills and techniques. 


Why is working with entry level talent important to you personally? 


Working with entry level talent is extremely important to me because I was once in their shoes. Starting my career with zero experience and trying to find a place in the corporate culture was a difficult experience, so I understand that struggle firsthand. 



My Talent Acquisition position has been an opportunity for me to give back to those who simply need a chance to showcase what they can bring to an organization. If I can provide an opportunity to those who want to get their foot in the door and just need a little bit of training to succeed, then my job is worth it. I have a passion for helping people realize their greatness and I can achieve that in my role and also by working with our community partners and employee resource groups. If you have the drive and determination to succeed, the rest can be trained. 


How, if at all, do you think Chicagoland employers should contribute to addressing inequality in Chicagoland neighborhoods?


We believe each and every employer should do what they can to help create opportunities and pathways for people in the communities they serve and beyond. Our focus has been primarily digital equity because our core business – Internet service – is its key component. Providing Internet access and helping people build digital skills they can use in school and the workplace gives them tools they can use to succeed in life.



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