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Walgreens pilot aims to hire workers with disabilities

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DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreen Co. is launching a pilot program in the Dallas/Fort Worth area to enlarge its workforce in that market and offer employment to people with disabilities.

The drug store chain said Tuesday that the program aims to hire people with disabilities for 10% of service clerk openings at stores in the area. On average, Walgreens hires more than 1,600 service clerks a year in this area alone.

"We’ve designed facilities and training for people with disabilities to help drive opportunity, efficiency and productivity at our distribution centers," commented Walgreens senior vice president of supply chain and logistics Randy Lewis, who spearheaded the workplace initiative. "Now we’re taking those tools and bringing them to the store level to help create and maintain a diversified workforce. Emphasizing people’s abilities is our strength that will help everyone succeed."

A partnership between Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) and the Walgreens Waxahachie distribution center resulted in a successful spin-off training program for Walgreens stores, which led to the new pilot. The company is again working with DARS to ensure Walgreens’ needs and those of people with disabilities are served.

"Once this pilot program is proven successful, we intend to expand it to other markets around the country in 2011," Lewis stated.

Training lasts about four weeks and will occur in at least 10 area store locations, according to Walgreens, which said the goal is to prepare qualified candidates for store positions as well as positions in any business that requires the same kind of skills — and ultimately see them hired.

"This initiative shows how we can use our community relationships to help everyone we serve," Erv Siemoneit, Walgreens’ Dallas market vice president, said in a statement. "The Metroplex is also a great place to see how this program can grow."


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