Lupin 2023

Walgreens recognized for employment of disabled

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DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreen Co. has been named "Private-Sector Employer of the Year" by CAREERS & the disABLED magazine for its commitment to recruiting, hiring and promoting people with disabilities.

The drug store chain said Thursday that it also was selected as one of the top five employers that the magazine’s readers would most like to work for or believe is progressive in its hiring practices. Walgreens will be honored by the publication next month in Boston.

"At every level, we do all we can to emphasize people’s abilities and strengths," Randy Lewis, senior vice president of supply chain and logistics at Walgreens, said in a statement.

Lewis leads the company’s disability employment initiative at its distribution centers. "We’ve been able to successfully make a meaningful impact on the lives of all who touch this initiative, from team members and parents to managers and executives," he commented. "We’ve done this while meeting our business objectives and doing what’s right for the company."

Last month, Walgreens launched a pilot program aimed at hiring people with disabilities for 10% of service clerk openings at its Dallas/Fort Worth-area stores. Training for the pilot, developed with the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS), is designed to prepare candidates for Walgreens staff positions, other jobs in retail or customer service positions that require similar skills, the drug chain said, addint that it also plans to work with DARS to help candidates with job placement.

In 2007, Walgreens formalized its plan to make bigger strides in the employment of people with disabilities with the opening of the first of its newest generation of distribution centers in Anderson, S.C. Today, people with disabilities make up 43% of the facility’s workforce, according to Walgreens.

Employees with disabilities have been trained to work side-by-side with other team members — with the same productivity goals and earning the same pay, Walgreens said. Disabilities range from autism and mental retardation to hearing, vision and other physical impairments. With the success in Anderson, Lewis created a company goal to fill 10% of its production jobs at all distribution centers with people who have disabilities by the end of 2010. About a year ago, Walgreens launched a distribution center in Windsor, Conn., where 30% of the workers are disabled.

Walgreens added that it also mentors other companies to share valuable insights and help them shape their own disability inclusion efforts.

"This is the 18th year in which CAREERS & the disABLED magazine has honored employers who have made a difference in the lives of people with disabilities," stated publisher John Miller. "We are pleased to name Walgreens for its commitment to recruit, hire and promote people with disabilities."


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