Walgreens is a model of inclusiveness

There is no “them” at the Walgreens distribution center in Anderson.

The 1 million-square-foot distribution center has become the model for hiring people with disabilities. Currently, about 40 percent of the center’s staff is made up of people with a registered disability. Recently the State Workforce Development Board Priority Population committee toured the facility to learn about the company’s practices.

Randy Lewis, Walgreen’s senior vice president of supply chain and logistics, implemented the idea of hiring people with disabilities as a result of his personal experience of having a son with a disability.

The company provides work environments that are inclusive that include visuals on the work process, touch screens computers with large icons and flexible workstations.

The company works with S.C. Vocational Rehabilitation, which works with the client during a 12-week training period. After that time, the company may offer the individual a full-time job. The company has said people with disabilities receive the same pay and work beside with all other employees.

“People with disabilities like to work. They want to be here,” said Lasandra Aiken, with the S.C. Vocational Rehabilitation Department in Anderson. She added that she has placed 54 clients with the company and has had only two quit.