Ray Graham Association Joins Walgreens REDI Program to Create Employment Experience for People with Disabilities

Ray Graham Association Partners with Four Walgreens Locations in REDI Program

This past January, Ray Graham Association joined Walgreens in the Retail Employees with Disabilities Initiative, REDI.  REDI, now a national program, offers a hands-on training experience for people with disabilities to prepare for employment in a retail environment.

The program’s goal is to prepare qualified candidates for employment at Walgreens retail locations, as well as employment with other retailers that require similar skills.  Walgreens works closely with organizations like Ray Graham Association to prepare participants for responsibilities that include cash register operations, customer service, merchandising, store inventory and maintaining store signage and displays.

The partnership between Ray Graham Association and Walgreens includes four locations in the western suburbs; Addison, Aurora, Willowbrook, and Bloomingdale.   With an anticipated enrollment of 40 participants, Ray Graham Association is committing staff and resources to ensure the success of the externs.

President and CEO of Ray Graham Association, Kim Zoeller, states “Walgreens is a leader and values the benefits of hiring people with people intellectual and developmental disabilities and as an organization we place a high priority efforts that result in employment.  We believe this is a win-win situation!”

“I am thrilled to see that our local Walgreens will be working with the Ray Graham Association in teaching wonderful job skills to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  The Retail Employees with Disabilities Initiative (REDI) is a fantastic program and we’re happy to see it implemented in Illinois and preparing so many deserving candidates in our area,” Illinois State Representative Patricia Bellock, 47th District.

Walgreens photo edits

Mary Rose, pictured center, stands with General Manager Wayne Buerger of Walgreens in Willowbrook, pictured left, and Job Developer Sara Scruggs, pictured right, from Ray Graham Association. Mary Rose works in the REDI Program at Walgreens in Willowbrook as an extern and receives residential and vocational services at Ray Graham Association.

Walgreens launched REDI in Illinois in November 2011.  The in-store extern training program is designed to help people with disabilities gain retail and customer service skills.  Walgreens provides extensive training to participating externs and Ray Graham Association staff who supplement the program with Job Coaching support.

“Through REDI, we are allowed to provide an opportunity for people to show us skills they have, that otherwise may have gone unnoticed,” said Walgreens General Manager of Willowbrook location Wayne Buerger.

Please contact Sara Scruggs for more information regarding Employment Services at Ray Graham Association and the REDI program at SaraS@raygraham.org or 630-353-1697 ext. 111.

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