Building an Inclusive Workplace at Walgreens: A Look at the Company’s Commitment to Disability Inclusion
On average, one in four people in the U.S. will have a disability at any given point in their lives. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, people with disabilities are three times more likely to be unemployed. This population faces the lowest employment outcomes within every demographic group.
Unfortunately, this is often due to the fact that so many people have an incomplete picture of disability. You might be surprised to learn that companies that have initiatives encouraging disability employment have 28% higher revenue.
Reflecting its founder, Charles R. Walgreen’s strong commitment to creating equal opportunity, Walgreens has fostered a fully inclusive work environment since its beginnings.
The company has found tremendous recruiting and retention value through industry-leading disability and neurodiverse–inclusive hiring practices. Walgreens believes attracting, developing, and retaining the best talent from a broader pool is a key differentiator for businesses in the future.
Driving Disability Inclusion with Purposeful Partnerships and Signature Programs
As an industry leader in building an inclusive workplace, Walgreens credits its progress in disability inclusion to its signature programs, executive buy-in and partnerships with organizations like Disability:IN.
For six consecutive years, Walgreens has received a 100 score on the Disability Equality Index® by Disability:IN and the American Association of People with Disabilities. Through its partnership with Disability:IN, Walgreens sponsors the organization’s global conference and expo, engages in workshops and committees and provides thought leadership on disability strategy and employment.
Over the last decade, Walgreens seized new opportunities to design facilities and training programs to create even more opportunities for people with disabilities through two signature programs: The Retail Employees with Disabilities Initiative (REDI) and the Transitional Work Group Program (TWG).
Launched in 2010, REDI focuses on recruiting, training, and hiring people with disabilities to work in Walgreens retail pharmacies. Approximately 1,900 trainees have enrolled in the program in over 400 Walgreens stores across 38 states.
TWG is a 10-13-week program combining classroom work, on-the-job training and coaching on general warehouse positions, with guaranteed employment once students successfully complete the program. The program operates in 12 Walgreens distribution centers and regional warehouses in the U.S., employing approximately 11.5% of employees who self-identify as individuals with disabilities.
Meet Chris Egan, TWG training coordinator committed to disability inclusion.

The company’s signature programs rest on three pillars:

Jobs and expectations will be the same for employees.
All employees will be held to the same work standards, for the same pay.
A sustainable model that fits our operational, human resources and other critical standards.

Additionally, the company partners with the Turning Pointe Autism Foundation to provide a mock store for their adult training program, where trainees can learn and practice skills necessary to live and work independently, with the added opportunity to be interviewed and potentially hired for roles at any Walgreens store.
These programs and pillars have enabled thousands of people with disabilities to build lives they may not otherwise have been able to, simply because opportunities were not available. Most recently, Walgreens has expanded its disability hiring initiatives to include direct hires and training through established partnerships with its micro-fulfillment centers.
Fostering a Healthy and Inclusive Workplace Through Business Resource Groups (BRGs)
Unfortunately, getting hired is only half the battle for people with disabilities in the workplace. Once they receive a job offer, the next hurdle can be the biggest – feeling represented and included.
With its mission to “Engage, educate and empower individuals with disabilities and allies,” the Walgreens disAbility Alliance BRG actively promotes an inclusive culture in line with the company’s DEI strategy. Most recently, they held a company-wide virtual event for Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, where they shared personal experiences to build awareness. In April, they partnered with Valor, the Veterans and Allies BRG, to organize a sports and fitness event for individuals with physical disabilities and visual impairments.
Expanding Walgreens Boots Alliance’s (WBA) Commitment to Disability Representation
Last year, WBA announced its strengthened commitment to increase the representation of people with disabilities at all levels across the company’s U.S. segments by redesigning its annual bonus plan in the U.S. to include a disability representation metric. The company is the first in the S&P 500 to include a separate, standalone metric within a disclosed incentive plan.
“We are very proud of our pioneering leadership in disability inclusion,” said Holly May, WBA’s EVP and global chief human resources officer. “By increasing our representation of people with disabilities, we are continuing to unlock a critical talent pipeline, providing sustainable work to this underrepresented community, and helping to address a number of social determinants of health including economic instability, social isolation and unemployment.”
To further support these efforts, WBA partnered with Neurodiversity in the Workplace (NITW), which designs plans and programs for companies to recruit, attract, hire, and retain neurodiverse talent. As a result, WBA is proud to be standing up an employment program at its corporate offices for neurodivergent team members.
“Recognizing and removing the barriers that neurodivergent job seekers and employees face creates a stronger, more inclusive workforce,” said Joseph Riddle, director of NITW. “For years, Walgreens has been an industry leader in hiring disabled people, and we are proud to continue that work with them via this partnership.”
Inviting Companies to Enroll in Walgreens Inclusion University
Walgreens’ programs for employees with disabilities have been benchmarked by a myriad of companies across the Fortune 500. The company offers ‘Walgreens Inclusion University,’ where they open their doors for other companies to go through their curriculum and tour their buildings, getting a chance to learn hands-on from the opportunities Walgreens offers neurodivergent individuals.
With increasing awareness for disability inclusion, Walgreens is calling on other companies to join the movement and learn how they may improve their facilities and programs. Take action today. Click here to learn how you can design a robust disability inclusion model for your company.