National Recognition Spotlights Walgreens Training and Job Readiness Programs for People with Disabilities
Walgreens has been recognized for the fourth consecutive year with a top score of 100 percent on the 2020 Disability Equality Index® (DEI), a joint initiative by Disability:IN and the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD).
The DEI is considered the most comprehensive benchmarking tool for corporate disability inclusion and was developed by disability advocates and business leaders. Walgreens, and its parent company Walgreens Boots Alliance, have a longstanding commitment to integrating people with disabilities across various aspects of the business.
“This honor affirms our commitment to ensuring that people with disabilities are a priority in our search for talent, that we are creating a workplace culture where everyone has equal access to opportunity and that we’re reflecting the communities we serve,” said Carlos Cubia, vice president and global chief diversity officer of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. “Empowering people with disabilities in the workplace is not only the right thing to do, it’s good for business.”
In 2019, 19.3 percent of persons in the U.S. with a disability were employed.1 In contrast, the employment-population ratio for persons without a disability was 66.3 percent.2 The 2020 DEI inclusion criteria assessed culture and leadership; enterprise-wide access; community engagement, supplier diversity and employment practices.
“The best way to attract, retain and grow talent with disabilities is to create an accessible, inclusive workplace,” said Jill Houghton, president & chief executive officer, Disability:IN. “This year’s top scoring Disability Equality Index companies are demonstrating their commitment to many of the numerous leading disability inclusion practices featured in the DEI, recognizing that there’s still room for improvement. We are proud to have developed strong partnerships with corporate allies who are committed to advancing disability inclusion and equality across their businesses in the United States and around the world.”
Walgreens is being recognized for its Transitional Work Group (TWG) program and the Retail Employees with Disabilities Initiative (REDI), which are designed to train potential hires, with the goal of hiring them for Walgreens stores and distribution centers once training is completed. Both programs are considered models for other companies. About 12% of employees at Walgreens distribution centers self-identify as having a disability.
- The 11-plus-year TWG program trains employees with disabilities to work at Walgreens distribution centers and regional warehouses. Earlier this year, TWG expanded to a ninth U.S. distribution center location.
- For its part, REDI offers training for potential positions in Walgreens stores, from working cash registers to stocking shelves. Through partnerships with community providers, REDI has expanded to over 270 stores in 37 states with over 1,400 trainees, as of August 2019. Graduates of the program can pursue job opportunities with Walgreens and other retailers as well.
Community providers play an integral role in Walgreens disability employment initiatives. Eleven years ago, Viability, a national nonprofit agency, helped Walgreens launch TWG:
“Walgreens has been at the forefront of disability inclusion efforts for many years,” said Carla Gaouette, Viabilty’s chief innovation division officer. “Our partnership with Walgreens has supported hundreds of people with disabilities nationally, helping them to find meaningful work and a sense of personal fulfillment and independence.”
To further support employees with disabilities, Walgreens’ Diversity & Inclusion division partners with the Disability Inclusion business resource group (BRG) to address workplace culture and education. In coordination with the Talent Acquisition team, the BRG also focuses on attracting job candidates. A similar BRG group has been established in WBA’s UK operations.
To learn more about Walgreens Boots Alliance’s Diversity & Inclusion efforts and Corporate Social Responsibility agenda, click here.
More information on the 2020 Disability Equality Index and the full list of top companies can be found here.
Walgreens (walgreens.com), one of the nation’s largest drugstore chains, is included in the Retail Pharmacy USA Division of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (Nasdaq: WBA), a global leader in retail and wholesale pharmacy. Walgreens is proud to be a neighborhood health, beauty and retail destination supporting communities across the country, and was named to FORTUNE* magazine’s 2019 Companies that Change the World list. Approximately 8 million customers interact with Walgreens in stores and online each day. As of August 31, 2019, Walgreens operates 9,277 drugstores with a presence in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, along with its omnichannel business, Walgreens.com. Walgreens also provides specialty pharmacy and mail services and offers in-store clinics and other health care services throughout the United States, most of which are operated by our health care strategic partners.
*© 2020, Fortune Media IP Limited. Used under license.
1 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics https://www.dol.gov/general/topic/disability/statistics
2 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics https://www.dol.gov/general/topic/disability/statistics
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