The initiative arose from the first-ever CEO Summit focused on employment of people with disabilities on June 4, 2012, hosted by Walgreens at the company's Windsor, Conn., distribution center. The summit was held at the Walgreens facility to provide participants a first-hand look at the company's robust effort to employ people with disabilities. About 50 percent of the workforce at the distribution center has a disability but all employees work as equals with the same responsibilities and performance standards.
Officials and companies made a commitment to schedule additional activities with expanded participation, starting with meetings at the U.S. Business Leadership Network conference in Orlando, Fla., in October of this year; summits in Dallas and Washington, D.C.; a website to share information and best practices; and, future activities to expand and promote the employment of people with disabilities and address barriers.
"One thing we've learned from the Walgreens experience is that if companies set big goals and put themselves out there, and work with the right partners to help them build a talent pipeline of eager, productive, and loyal workers with disabilities, the results of such efforts are stronger and more productive companies and a loyal productive workforce," said Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and a lead Senate sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
"Walgreens has been a leader in providing people with disabilities access to all the joys of employment that fully abled people experience," said James Salzano, CEO of Clark's North America. "The summit demonstrates perfectly that access to employment is a universal issue - one that cuts across party lines, geographic boundaries, public and private sectors."
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