DEERFIELD, Ill., October 24, 2012 - Nearly one year after launching an initiative to help create more job opportunities for people with disabilities in Connecticut, 62 participants have completed training under the Walgreens (NYSE: WAG) (Nasdaq: WAG) Retail Employees with Disabilities Initiative (REDI) program. The program’s goal is to prepare qualified candidates for employment at Walgreens retail locations, as well as employment with other retailers that require similar skills. Of those who completed training, 17 have already obtained jobs at Walgreens locations throughout Connecticut as the company grows talent and recognizes ability through greater diversity in the workplace.
Walgreens launched REDI in the state on Nov. 1, 2011. The in-store extern training program aims to help people with disabilities gain retail and customer service skills, and works closely with community organizations and vocational rehabilitation agencies to train and develop candidates. The drugstore chain is working with the state’s Bureau of Rehabilitation Services to assist with training for the REDI program. The program prepares participants 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,” said 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.”
This May, Walgreens launched the REDI program nationally. The first phase of REDI 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 completing the program, 66 percent of whom were recommended for hire, the program grew to more than 60 stores throughout Texas, New York and Connecticut.
To date, more than 400 candidates have completed REDI training. Of those, 66 percent of trainees acquired the full skillset needed to perform a service clerk position in a similar retail setting. Walgreens has hired nearly 130 people.
This month, Walgreens was named 2012 Employer of the Year by the U.S. Business Leadership Network (USBLN). The organization is a national non-profit, non-partisan business-to-business network promoting workplaces, marketplaces and supply chains where people with disabilities are included. Walgreens received this honor for its continued commitment to helping people with disabilities develop productive and successful careers.
Walgreens Distribution Centers
Walgreens began designing its distribution center facilities and training for people with disabilities with the opening of its DC in Anderson, S.C., in 2007. The new DC, followed by the opening of another similar facility in Windsor, Conn., in 2009, helps drive opportunity, efficiency and productivity for the entire workforce. At the Connecticut facility, more than 40 percent of the workforce is made up of people with disabilities.
As the nation's largest drugstore chain with fiscal 2012 sales of $72 billion, Walgreens (www.walgreens.com) vision is to become America’s first choice for health and daily living. Each day, Walgreens provides more than 6 million customers the most convenient, multichannel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice in communities across America. Walgreens scope of pharmacy services includes retail, specialty, infusion, medical facility and mail service, along with respiratory services. These services improve health outcomes and lower costs for payers including employers, managed care organizations, health systems, pharmacy benefit managers and the public sector. The company operates 7,944 drugstores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Take Care Health Systems is a Walgreens subsidiary that is the largest and most comprehensive manager of worksite health and wellness centers and in-store convenient care clinics, with more than 700 locations throughout the country.