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.”