The RCA Oral History project was undertaken to investigate "The Influence of RCA on South Jersey – Social History Project." The plan was to go directly to the RCA retirees and record their recollections and individual histories. This project provided insight into a unique business model. A total of 42 persons were interviewed. Many of the interviews were conducted at The RCA Heritage Program Museum at Rowan University; others were conducted at L-3 Communications in Camden, New Jersey (the site of the original RCA). Recognizing that some retirees were unable to travel for various reasons, interviews were also conducted in private homes where necessary.
The 42 oral histories of former South Jersey RCA employees reveal a cadre of workers that felt connected to their work, their co-workers and the company. RCA employed and initiated talented engineers as well as support people. Most of the persons interviewed were not at the top of the pay scale, but RCA satisfied the workers because the supervisors expected their employees to solve challenging problems and encouraged the workers to innovate in developing new technologies. In addition to creating a supportive and engaging workspace, RCA emotionally connected their employees by fostering a familial work culture, touted as the "RCA Family." This work culture expanded beyond a slogan, and included effective mentorship, team building, and family employee policies that made the ideal an authentic experience. These employees felt committed to RCA, satisfied enough to forgo higher salaries or other entrepreneurial aspirations. By bringing in these committed and highly skilled laborers to South Jersey, they provided a stable and successful new demographic to the region. These interviews add to our understanding the history of skilled labor, the growth of the South Jersey suburbs, and technological innovation in the 20th Century.
This project was assisted by a grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State.The Museum videotaped 42 former RCA employees.