Last August, which feels like a lifetime ago, I was given the opportunity to work as a trainer for the Walgreens REDI training program. The program is designed to give people with disabilities a real opportunity for employment by giving them a 3 week training/trial period with the hopes that they will pass the employee assessment and be recommended for hire. Most Walgreens employees are given a very short training period without much support. I was hired by the non-for profit organization Deerfield Coalition whose mission is to help match people with disabilities to jobs in the community. As the trainer, I was given 2 days of on -the -job training at a local Walgreens. I was taught how to manage point of sale transactions, stock shelves, maintain the stock room, and offer excellent customer service to the patrons of Walgreens.
After my 2 days of training, I had an opportunity to meet with my 3 trainees off site. We talked about important details such as dress and hygiene for work. We also talked about some of the Walgreens lingo and we role played many scenarios. I was able to take my new trainees to do a walk through of a different Walgreens store so we could simply make observations. I showed them examples of what they would be doing. We also made some purchases and felt like secret shoppers as we observed and waited to hear the very specific Walgreens language and transaction sequence.