CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--One in five Americans has a disability. Nearly 70 percent of people with disabilities and 95 percent with severe cognitive disabilities such as autism will never hold down a job. When Randy Lewis found out his son, Austin, had autism, Randy experienced those statistics in a personal way and wondered whether his son would ever be able to work. Fast-forward to today: Austin has a job, and because of his son, Lewis spearheaded a major shift in thinking at Walgreens (@Walgreens) that has resulted in thousands of jobs for workers with disabilities. Lewis gives a firsthand account of what it took to transform corporate attitudes toward people with disabilities in his new book, No Greatness without Goodness, releasing from Tyndale House Publishers (@TyndaleHouse) in April 2014.
“We can work together and make a huge difference in people’s lives, if we are willing to put fear aside,” Lewis explains. “You can do this in your community with a cause of your own.”
It took nine years, lots of determination, and sheer faith to see this initiative through. Lewis shares the steps he took to create an inclusive environment in Walgreens distribution facilities, where jobs are provided for individuals with a wide range of disabilities. Once people with disabilities are hired, they are held to the same standards as other employees. In return, they earn the same wages as their coworkers and earn sick time and health benefits.
Having experienced success with their disability initiative and knowing it had the potential to make an impact on the broader workplace, they invited other companies to visit their facilities and see the program in action. Dozens of companies took them up on their invitation: Lowes, Best Buy and Proctor & Gamble, to name a few, have launched their own initiatives.
Randy Lewis, former senior vice president of Walgreens, led the logistics division for sixteen years as the chain grew from 1,500 to 8,000 stores. Randy introduced an inclusive model at Walgreens distribution centers that resulted in 10 percent of its workforce consisting of people with disabilities. For more information visit http://www.nogwog.com.