At Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center, one of the primary focuses of the program revolves around employment and job training. In order to live independently, it is important for many Vista students and members to obtain and maintain employment. Most Vista students and members are actively engaged in employment activity at different levels, from paid employment to skill-building internships, job training and vocational assessments. Given their range of employment needs, Vista seeks to partner with companies that can provide flexibility, diverse opportunities for paid and unpaid employment, and that have an understanding of the wide range of abilities that Vista students and members have. Embodying all of these things and much more, Walgreens stands out as a progressive and reliable partnership for Vista, and as a result has been named Vista’s Employer of the Quarter.
Walgreens has a history of providing competitive employment, opportunities for advancement and job mobility to people with disabilities. Senior Vice President for Distribution and Logistics, Randy Lewis has a son with autism. As he watched his son’s difficult transition from high school to the workplace, Randy became aware of the lack of challenging jobs and high unemployment rate for those with disabilities. He proposed that Walgreens redesign the technology, workstations and jobs themselves so that they could employ a large number of people with disabilities, while still holding them to the same performance standards as all other team members. In 2007, Walgreens opened its newly redesigned distribution center in South Carolina, with more than 40% of the distribution center’s workforce having a physical or cognitive disability. In 2009, Walgreens opened another distribution center in Connecticut, incorporating the same design and workforce inclusion principles.
For many years, Walgreens has provided a place for Vista’s students and members to participate in vocational assessments, internships, skill-building and job training. Students and members have learned valuable skills during their time at Walgreens, that have transferred over into different job prospects and that have been applied to other aspects of their daily lives. This year, Walgreens was able to offer paid employment, for the first time, to Vista student Christian Vidal. After interning at Walgreens and developing the necessary skills, Walgreens found that Christian was competitively employable, and hired him as a part-time employee (click here to read the full article regarding Christian’s accomplishment). This marked a new stage in Vista’s constantly evolving relationship with Walgreens, and has opened doors to countless opportunities and possibilities. Vista values this relationship very highly and is proud to honor Walgreens as theirEmployer of the Quarter.
Based in Madison and Westbrook, CT, Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center is a 501©3 nonprofit organization. Vista’s mission is “Providing services and resources to assist individuals with disabilities achieve personal success.”
For more information regarding Vista, please visit www.vistavocational.org