Employer Spotlight: Why Rockwell Collins actively recruits people with disabilities

Rockwell Collins is a pioneer in the design, production, and support of innovative solutions in aerospace and defense. Our expertise in flight deck avionics, cabin electronics, mission communications, information management, and simulation & training is strengthened by a global service & support network that spans 27 countries. Working together, our global team shares a vision to create the most trusted source of communication and aviation electronics solutions.

Our systems and products are installed in the flight decks of nearly every air transport aircraft in the world. Our airborne and ground-based communication systems transmit nearly 70 percent of all U.S. and allied military communication. Whether developing new technology to enable network-centric operations for the military, delivering integrated electronic solutions for new commercial and military aircraft or providing a level of service and support that increases reliability and lowers operational costs for our customers throughout the world, we deliver on our commitments.

In our core markets, the effective balance of our commercial and government businesses enables us to apply proven innovation, technologies and expertise across markets. The result is that we can deliver solutions that are safer, faster and more cost-effective.

  1. How many employees do you have (North America)?

    15,000 Employees

  2. Why is hiring people with disabilities good for business?

    Employees with disabilities can help businesses understand and meet the needs of this important and expanding customer base - this is growing increasingly more important with more of our products and services touching the everyday traveler. What's more, research shows that people with disabilities are one of many dimensions of diversity required to provide our business with the flexible, innovative thinking necessary to give us a competitive edge in the 21st century.

  3. Why have you chosen to actively recruit people with disabilities?

    At Rockwell Collins, we strive to harness the creativity and ingenuity of our diverse workforce and create an environment where our employees are motivated to use their talents to achieve their full potential. Disability is one of many perspectives included in our Inclusion and Diversity strategy. Employees with disabilities come from all backgrounds and ages and have varied skills and experiences to contribute to the advancement of innovation at Rockwell Collins. We believe that having diversity at the table only serves to better our company and culture, and are committed to bringing that diversity into our workforce and maintaining a culture of inclusion.

  4. Besides working with Getting Hired what other ways are you working to bring diverse populations to your workplace? (Military, veterans)

    At Rockwell Collins, we view having diversity in our workforce as an imperative for business success. Given that we are in the Aerospace and STEM industry, we are naturally faced with many challenges in bringing historically underrepresented groups into our workforce. While we certainly consider people with disabilities to be a major component of diversity - it does not stop there. We also place special focus on attracting: People of Color, Females and the Veteran Community. One way we do this is through continuously developing partnerships with many additional external organizations, such as National Organization on Disability (NOD), National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Corporation (HENAAC), Society of Women Engineers (SWE), Student Veterans of America (SVA) and a long list of schools from across the United States. Each of these organizations supports us as we make a concerted effort to ensure that we are building a diverse talent pipeline.

  5. Have you instituted any kind of diversity training program for staff or management or both?

    We have a variety of training focused around the topic of Inclusion and Diversity at Rockwell Collins. We have required Computer Based Trainings on the subject for all new hires to take upon starting employment with us. In addition to this, we have recently implemented an optional Instructor Led Training focused on raising awareness of Unconscious Bias titled "Leading Inclusive Teams" - this is a training designed exclusively for leaders. For Individual Contributors, we have an additional Computer Based Training around the same subject of Unconscious Bias. For a more tailored training for specific dimensions of diversity, we rely heavily on our 8 Employee Resource Groups. These trainings are not mandated and are optional.

  6. What kinds of reasonable accommodations have you been able to provide to employees with disabilities?

    At Rockwell Collins it's important for employees to know they can disclose their disability and request reasonable accommodations. To help employees feel comfortable doing so, we have updated our Workplace Accommodations procedure for U.S.-based employees.

    Under our accommodation procedure, it's the employee's role to disclose a disability or medical condition and provide us with the necessary medical documentation to secure the work accommodation. With the aid of our Human Resources group the process is made simple for employees to navigate. Examples of accommodations that have been implemented include but are not limited to the following: assisting employees when transferring from chair to chair, scooter to chair, providing sign language for the hearing impaired, special computer screens for those with visual impairment, emergency plans activated for those that work on floors above the first floor, provide scooters for employees at work and customize work stations to fit the needs of the employee as necessary.

  7. What would you like to say to other businesses that are considering hiring people with disabilities?

    People with disabilities cross all dimensions of diversity, representing the largest pool of underutilized talent in this country. We have seen firsthand how our employees work together to build a more productive and inclusive work environment. Whether it's generating new ideas, developing new solutions, or questioning the status quo, continuing to value diversity and inclusion across our company has served us well.

  8. Do you have a brief story or anecdote about an employee with a disability that you would like to share?

    Barry Miglia is a T10 paraplegic due to a fall when he was young, has been working for Rockwell Collins for 23 years, seven years on a program called Fusion, an electronic checklist for pilots.

    "Basically, it takes the paper checklist pilots used to use to manage the plane and puts it in electronic form on their displays," explains Miglia. "This makes it easier to access and automates some steps."

    Rockwell Collins provides avionics and information technology systems and is headquartered in Cedar Rapids, IA. His educational background is in hardwire engineering, but upon accepting the position, moved into the software side.

    Much of his work has been in displays; for instance, he worked on the cockpit display for Boeing's 747-400 for a long time. With a degree in electrical engineer from the University of Wyoming, Miglia says he "kind of fell into" the aerospace industry while in school. "I wanted to see some different areas I might be interested in, so I applied to a few places and was accepted at Rockwell, and I liked the work I did out here," he recalls.

    Aside from working in an older building that has some places that are difficult to reach, Miglia is happy to report that his disability doesn't require much accommodation and if something does arise, his co-workers are more than willing to assist, making Rockwell Collins a great place to work. "The people and how accommodating they are is really wonderful," says Miglia. "If I've ever had a problem with my disability, they are more than happy to help me work around it. I've never had any problem where I had to fight to get something; they've always been more than accommodating."

    Miglia began his career at Rockwell Collins as a co-op student, so he highly recommends students take advantage of similar opportunities: "Get out and experience the work and see if that's what you're interested in" he advises. "School is one thing, but when you actually can get some work experience out there, that can give you an idea if that's a field that you'll like and you'll make contacts, too."

    Rockwell Collins sponsors a number of employee resources groups, including one called the Disability Network Group and Supporters. "The best thing about Rockwell is all the different people I've met and how easy it is to work with everyone here. We come from many different backgrounds, yet everyone gets along real well to drive toward our end goals," he concludes.