Drugstore to Hire People With Disabilities Through New Recruiting Website

The nation’s largest drugstore chain has launched a new recruiting website to hire people with disabilities for its future distribution center in Anderson, South Carolina, beginning next summer.?

Walgreens has launched the site to describe jobs that will be available at the future Walgreens distribution center and is designed to be accessible by people with sensory, physical, and cognitive disabilities.

A Walgreens spokeswoman says that the site was designed specifically as a “recruiting initiative and outreach program with the disability community,” and that the center has begun pre-hire training and will open in 2007.

The company will initially hire more than 200 employees, with plans to ramp up to more than 600 employees. Walgreens’ goal is to have at least one-third of the workforce consist of employees with a variety of disabilities working in a fully integrated team.

Job openings at the Anderson distribution center include a number of management positions, but will also include those as “receivers, detrashers, pickers, and more,” according to the website.

“This is a workforce that is underemployed and has not had the same opportunities as others,” says Larry Kraemer, human resources manager for the Anderson distribution center. The new website to recruit people with disabilities, he says, “is a chance to change that.”

Walgreensoutreach.com provides information to help potential employees understand what work will be like at the distribution center. The site incorporates audio messages, photos, video and a large-print text option to depict jobs and the overall work experience planned for the Anderson distribution center.

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The site also was also designed to be accessible to blind and low-vision individuals who use screen-reader technology. 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 employees considering relocating to Anderson, the site also has information about Walgreens’ partnership with 13 local disability agencies. Walgreens created the website to address concerns such as transportation, housing, and the impact of employment on various kinds of government benefit programs like Medicaid.

“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 the challenges of everyday life for people with disabilities.

Walgreens worked with The Paciello Group of Nashua, New Hampshire, to make Walgreensoutreach.com accessible for people with various disabilities and to meet the international Web Content Accessibility Guidelines of the World Wide Web Consortium.

Walgreen Co. is the nation’s largest drugstore chain with fiscal 2005 sales of $42.2 billion. The company operates 5,294 stores in 46 states and Puerto Rico.

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