Walgreens, state of WI team up to find jobs for people with disabilities

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Walgreens and the state of Wisconsin have teamed up to help find jobs for people with disabilities.

Elva Washington is one of 19 people to finish training through REDI -- the Retail Employees with Disabilities Initiative. 

The collaboration between Wisconsin and Walgreens started in May of 2012 in four Milwaukee-area stores. 

Officials announced Monday, February 4th they are expanding the program across the state.

"Through the internship, they have on-the-job experience, they work with them on how to communicate with people, getting a good inter-personal skill set," Reggie Newson with the Department of Workforce Development said.

Washington says that is exactly what she needed.

"I have taken from this experience how to cope with other people and how to work with other people. I love my co-workers and I love my manager," Washington said.

Washington's manager, Trina Wankowski says the program helps not only Washington, but those around her as well.

"Sometimes you can get an employee who doesn't wanna be at work and they do. They wanna be working and they're very reliable. I mean they're always early," Wankowski said.

The training lasts four weeks and ranges from working the register to stocking shelves. Washington and 12 others were hired by Walgreens after the brief internship. 

"Happy having an opportunity to have my own things. Not depending on anyone else to give them to me," Washington said.

The Department of Workforce Development says several other large employers in the state have expressed interest in launching a similar program. 

Secretary Newson says there's already a pool of potential candidates wading through the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.