Inclusive Employment Model Gaining Steam
Inspired by Walgreens’ efforts to bring people with disabilities into the workforce, another Fortune 500 company is giving inclusive employment a try.
Proctor & Gamble opened a packaging facility this week in Auburn, Maine where at least 30 percent of employees will be people with physical or developmental disabilities.
Employees with special needs at the site will work side-by-side with those who are typically developing, earning the same wages and will be held to the same standards, company officials said.
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Proctor & Gamble executives decided to put a focus on hiring people with disabilities at the new packaging facility after seeing Walgreens’ success with a similar program at two of its distribution centers, according to Linda Clement-Holmes, chief diversity officer for P&G.
At a U.S. Senate hearing earlier this year, Randy Lewis, senior vice president at Walgreens, told lawmakers that the drugstore chain has seen higher efficiency and an improved work environment since making a conscious effort to employ people with disabilities.
“Our expectations for hiring people with disabilities have been exceeded,” Lewis said. “These are terrific employees and they meet and exceed the same performance requirements for all employees.”
The new Proctor & Gamble facility, which will produce Tampax products, is expected to employ 60 people when it is fully staffed. If the inclusion model is successful, company officials say they may consider expanding the initiative.
“Employing people with physical and developmental challenges is not only the right thing to do, but it also makes good business sense and has benefits which will reverberate across the company and community,” the company said in a statement.