Accessibility for all: A look at our employee resource group for people with disabilities

The request went out to members of RTX’s employee resource group for people with disabilities: Tell us how to make your worksites more accessible. 

Then the responses came in, and Alison Faye Johnson got to work. 

Sifting through about 400 suggestions that included lowering badge readers, adding automatic door openers and installing more wheelchair ramps, she identified the top 10 and brought them to the company's facilities team. 

Now, those updates are on track to be complete less than a year after the survey. And for Johnson, the global co-chair of the RTX ADAPT employee resource group, they are a clear example of the benefits her organization can bring. 

“This opens the door to our hiring of more disabled employees,” said Johnson, a senior compliance manager at Pratt & Whitney, an RTX business. “If people see us doing things like this, they will know we are an inclusive company. Showing everyone the company values disability inclusion is powerful.” 

A plan of action

RTX ADAPT, or Abled & Disabled Associates Partnering Together, is the company’s employee resource group for people with disabilities, their caretakers and allies. Its key initiatives include: 

Partnering with business and engineering leaders to make air travel more accessible  

icon depicting employees

Working with the company’s facilities team to improve accessibility through automatic door openers, lowered badge readers, accessibility maps and more  

ehs vpp

Partnering with internal and external programs to drive recruitment and retention of employees with diverse abilities 

Icon showing a community of people

Encouraging employees with disabilities to self-identify, and to use the company’s system for requesting reasonable accommodations 

Alison Faye Johnson

“What we continue to do is try to break the stigma. People with disabilities aren’t any less, and that’s the whole goal of our ERG.”

Alison Faye Johnson | Global Co-chair | RTX ADAPT

Enabling change

In addition to initiatives that focus on the workplace, RTX ADAPT is also modeling the company’s philosophy that diversity drives innovation. Members of the group, including global chair Matt Oka, are partnering with Collins Aerospace on ways to improve accessibility on commercial flights.

Oka and dozens of ADAPT members recently shared their experiences and biggest travel pain points with the Collins engineering team.

More accessible commercial flights would be “a game-changer,” said Oka, who uses a wheelchair. “The way I travel now is with a caregiver ... I’d be able to board and deboard a plane by myself. It would really help the independence of my overall life.” 

RTX ADAPT also encourages employees to use RTX's system for requesting reasonable accommodations – a broad term for services and modifications that create an equitable workplace for employees with disabilities. They include interpretive services for hearing-impaired employees, modified keyboards and voice-to-text software, and modified work schedules during recovery from injury or illness.  

“There’s a common misunderstanding where some employees think they’re not eligible for a reasonable accommodation, but in reality they are,” said Oka, chief financial officer of Thales Raytheon Systems.

RTX ADAPT is also launching a campaign to encourage employees with disabilities to self-identify. Creating an accurate picture of the employee population through this data allows the company to provide and enhance resources.  

The group also supports recruitment efforts through its work with the nonprofit Disability:IN, as well as internal initiatives such as a program that seeks to hire neurodiverse employees.

“We see the disabled community as an untapped resource of future talent,” Oka said. “There are millions of people who are out of the workforce or working part-time.”

Matt Oka

“We see the disabled community as an untapped resource of future talent.”

Matt Oka | Global Chair | RTX ADAPT


Beyond the initial improvements inspired by the employee survey, Johnson continues to work with RTX’s facilities team to improve accessibility beyond legal requirements. In 2024, the team plans to advocate for dedicated rooms at all RTX sites for employees who wish to manage their health and wellness privately. The group will also send a new survey asking for more ideas to make work sites more accessible and inclusive. 

Johnson calls this effort “the most rewarding project I’ve ever been a part of” – because it supports her current colleagues as well as those who will come next.  

“I’m a service person, and if I’m making a difference in one person’s life, then my job is done,” she said. “As a mom of a neurodiverse kid, I’m excited for the future. I’m witnessing real change happening not just for our company but for the world. I could not be happier about that.” 

A group of employees having a conversation around a table

See how our employee resource groups help us build a more inclusive culture.

Learn more