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In Conn., Walgreens helps train people with disabilities for jobs
October 24th, 2012
DEERFIELD, Ill. – About a year after launching a program to help create more job opportunities for people with disabilities in Connecticut, 62 participants have completed training under the Walgreens Retail Employees with Disabilities Initiative (REDI).
The drug chain said Wednesday that of those who completed training, 17 have obtained jobs at Walgreens locations throughout Connecticut.
The goal of REDI, launched in the state last November, is to prepare qualified candidates for employment at Walgreens retail locations, as well as for employment with other retailers that require similar skills.
According to Walgreens, the in-store training program aims to help people with disabilities gain retail and customer service skills, and it collaborates with community organizations and vocational rehabilitation agencies to train and develop candidates. The chain is working with the Connecticut's Bureau of Rehabilitation Services to assist with training for REDI.
Participants are prepared for responsibilities that include cash register operations, customer service, merchandising, store inventory and maintaining store signage and displays.
"This program teaches valuable career skills that give candidates the tools to be successful in any retail setting," commented Walgreens market vice president Skip Bourdo. "We continue to learn incredible things from everyone involved in this meaningful initiative and believe in the power of ability."
Walgreens launched the REDI program nationally in May. The first phase includes parts of Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin, with plans to reach all states by the end of 2013. Once a local agency is identified, there is a four-week training program which takes place in up to five stores per district.
The REDI pilot began in Dallas/Fort Worth in 2010. After more than 200 trainees completed the program, and 66% of whom were recommended for hire, the program grew to more than 60 stores throughout Texas, New York and Connecticut, Walgreens said.
To date, more than 400 candidates have completed REDI training. Of those, 66% acquired the full skillset needed to perform a service clerk position in a similar retail setting, according to the company, which added that it has hired about 130 people.
Walgreens noted that it began designing its distribution center facilities and training for people with disabilities with the opening of its facility in Anderson, S.C., in 2007. That center was followed by the opening of
similar facility in Windsor, Conn.
, in 2009. At the Connecticut facility, more than 40% of the workforce is made up of people with disabilities, the company said.