September 29, 2023
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and Caterpillar’s Abled and Disabled Employees Partnering Together (ADEPT) employee resource group (ERG) is committed to supporting disability inclusion at Caterpillar. This includes assisting all employees in finding the support they need to function optimally at work and assisting with recruiting and onboarding employees with disabilities.
Below are some inspiring stories from ADEPT members who share their personal journeys to raise disability awareness. Energy & Transportation Group President and ADEPT’s executive sponsor Joe Creed says, “ADEPT is there to be a support resource for everyone – whether your disabilities are visible or not visible. This organization is meant for everyone.”
Senior Communications Specialist, Cat Financial
After years of having seizures on and off, I was finally diagnosed with Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy (JME) in December 2022. JME usually first occurs during adolescence, late teens or early 20s. The most common seizure triggers for someone with JME are lack of sleep, stress and overstimulation. I experienced my first seizure at age 23.
Joining ADEPT helped me have the courage to speak up and realize the strength in sharing my story – not just for my safety and others’ awareness, but to demonstrate how those who may have health struggles, whether physical or mental, can adapt and succeed personally and professionally. As a result of my condition, I’ve had to adjust and ask for grace and accommodations at times, both inside and outside of work. I’ve found by being honest and open, the embarrassment has lessened, and I’ve gotten the encouragement to be successful in my job — almost 20 years at Caterpillar — and managing my health.
Principal Controls Design Engineer, Solar Turbines
I was injured almost 26 years ago and became a quadriplegic. Having a high-level spinal cord injury is a definite impairment, affecting my day-to-day activities. But, it has always been clear to me that my job is about my intellectual capabilities, collaboration and experience, rather than physical abilities. Just because I need assistance physically does not prevent me from achieving outcomes. ADEPT has given me the opportunity to be an example of helping others and being helped. It is nice to know I am not alone, regardless of the disability.
When you join Team Caterpillar, you'll find that we care not just about the work we do, but also each other. ADEPT is one of 14 employee resource groups at Caterpillar dedicated to connecting employees who share similar life experiences or interests to promote personal and professional development. Are you ready to join the team?