At Walgreens, the commitment to being an equal opportunity employer is more than just talk. Not only is the drugstore chain building a DC designed to accommodate people with disabilities, but it will also set aside a third of the center's jobs for them.
But now the challenge becomes recruiting workers for the DC, which will open in Anderson, S.C., next year. As part of its recruitment drive, Walgreens has set up a special Web site, Walgreensoutreach.com, that provides information to help potential employees understand what it will be like to work at the center and describes jobs available at the DC.
Designed to be accessible to people with sensory, physical and cognitive disabilities, Walgreensoutreach.com incorporates audio messages, photos, video and a large-print text option to depict jobs and work life at Anderson. Under the jobs section, videos show employees performing various jobs, and the text describes what the workers are doing. Prospective employees unsure if they can perform the essential job functions can take a self-quiz to get an idea of the tasks involved. For potential candidates considering relocating to Anderson, the site also has information about Walgreens' partnership with 13 local disability agencies.
Recognizing the challenges faced by people with disabilities who want to work, Walgreens designed the Web site to address concerns like transportation, housing and the impact of gainful employment on Medicaid, SSI or SSDI benefits. "We know this requires more than a 'build it and they will come' attitude to be successful," says Randy Lewis, Walgreens' senior vice president of distribution and logistics. Lewis, who has a son with autism, knows first-hand the challenges of everyday life for people with disabilities. "Our local partners and statewide officials have worked tirelessly in setting up a support network to make this outreach with the disability community a success," he says.
Initially, Walgreens will hire more than 200 employees—people with and without disabilities— who will work in fully integrated teams at the Anderson DC. Eventually, it plans to ramp up to more than 600 employees.