December 3 is International Day of Persons with Disabilities and Epilepsy NL attended a presentation by Randy Lewis, former Senior VP of chain supply and logistics for America’s Walgreens held by the Coalition for Persons with Disabilities.
Lewis has a son, Austin, who was diagnosed with Autism. Lewis used to ay awake at night and wonder how Austin would support himself in the future without the help of his parents. He then realized that other parents, without the many privileges he had, must stay up at night worried about their child’s independence and what was available for them to live an independent lifestyle.
Lewis took these thoughts and moved forward with them to provide a solution. Himself and Walgreens came up with an action plan and they decided that at east ten per cent of their distribution staff would be persons of disability. Within four years, they had reached their goal.
When Walgreens opened the doors to a new distribution centre, they worked closely with agencies to contact persons with disability and create better access for them to acquire jobs.
One of the things Lewis noticed was the application process is not applicable to al individuals and some potential employees could be missing out on opportunities that benefit both a company, as well as that employee. Lewis and his team recognized that the interview and application process is not easily accessible to all individuals. The company than adjusted their procedures accordingly, to make a options available to everyone.
Within the factories, Walgreens used communication as the means of adjustment. Lewis noticed speaking to the people on his floor directly created easily approachable solutions. How can the workplace better facilitate every potential employee. Lewis found it easy to accommodate everyone, if he spoke to them directly and addressed their needs.
Walgreens discovered that production rates had increased and sick days were rarely used.
“We haven’t met a disability we can’t employ,” said Lewis.
For more information visit: http://www.walgreens.com/topic/sr/sr_disability_inclusion_detail.jsp