Stepping up its investment in employee training, Walgreen Co. today plans to launch Walgreens University, a new career development facility that provides classroom and online programming.

Walgreens, Walgreens University, career development, employee training, Deerfield, mock drug store, employee educational programs, Greg Wasson, Kathleen Wilson-Thompson, drug chain, corporate training programs, Warren Lindley, Bruce Bryant

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Now in session: Walgreens University

February 22nd, 2013

DEERFIELD, Ill. – Stepping up its investment in employee training, Walgreen Co. today plans to launch Walgreens University, a new career development facility that provides classroom and online programming.

Opening its doors on Friday, the university building at 6 Parkway North in Deerfield, Ill., features technology-enhanced classrooms, a mock drug store and video conferencing capabilities.

Walgreens said the facility will serve as the base of operations for employee educational programs offered online and in regional locations nationwide.

To mark the opening of Walgreens University, the company on Friday plans to hold a ribbon-cutting event led by Greg Wasson, Walgreens president and chief executive officer, and Kathleen Wilson-Thompson, chief human resources officer.

"Walgreens University is not solely a building, but a national program with national access and offerings for team members at every level of the company," Wilson-Thompson said in a statement. "We hope every one of our 240,000 team members will find ways to grow their careers and improve themselves through the educational opportunities that Walgreens University will expand or introduce."

Walgreens noted that with the opening of the new facility, the company is doubling its annual investment in employee education and development.

The drug chain said it also plans to double the number of learning opportunities for employees via expanded online classes and in regional training sessions and Deerfield campus classrooms. The company added that more than 100 courses will be available through what it called one of the few corporate training programs to offer college credit for certain classes, including pharmacy technician training and management and retail fundamentals.

"To meet our company goals, we need a workforce that learns and grows every day through opportunities available when, where and how each individual needs it," Wilson-Thompson stated. "We aim to be the best in our industry for employee education and training and among the best of all major American corporations. For Walgreens to compete effectively and expand our business, our team members need to continuously grow new skills and capabilities throughout their careers with us."

Education providers for Walgreens University include the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management, offering a customized MBA program; the University of Maryland's University College; Webster University; the University of Phoenix; and DeVry University's Keller Graduate School of Management.

Tuition discounts of 10% to 25% will be available to many Walgreens employees, and UMUC's 25% discount will also be available to employee spouses and dependents, according to Walgreens. Employees will also have access to non-credit management courses offered online from Harvard Business Publishing, a subsidiary of Harvard University.

The Walgreens learning and development team led by Warren Lindley, divisional vice president for organizational design and effectiveness, devised the Walgreens University curriculum and system of instruction after consultation with Walgreens leadership and external experts.

"We want Walgreens customers everywhere to find and experience in our stores the products and services they need to get, stay and live well," stated Bruce Bryant, senior vice president at Walgreens and dean of Walgreens University, who has more than 40 years of experience with the company. "The launch of Walgreens University is a significant step toward consistent, higher-quality training for our entire team at every corner of America. It also makes Walgreens a great place to work and grow professionally."