LOS ANGELES - Walgreens announced its commitment to hire 5,000 veterans over five years in its more than 9,500 stores nationwide.
The drugstore is partnering with Southern New Hampshire University for the program, called "Walgreens Helping Veterans with Educational and Retail Opportunities," or HERO. Through the program, Walgreens will also seek to hire veterans into store leadership roles "with opportunities to advance," the company said.
"Our stores are the front lines of engagement with our customers and offer the best environment to learn our business as a pharmacy and retailer. Once in a store leadership role, veterans can have an opportunity to advance into other field management and corporate leadership positions," said Jeff Koziel, Walgreens Senior Vice President of Operations. "In addition to full-time employment, this can lead to a successful and fulfilling career supporting Walgreens' purpose to champion the health and well-being of every community in America."
The benefits of the HERO program include on-the-job mentorship, new team member and program support, as well as Lead, Engage, Advance, Perform (LEAP) program retail management training, according to a blog post from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The program will also offer new student support through SNHU.
While working at Walgreens, the veterans will have the opportunity to earn a bachelor's or master's degree from SNHU at a significant discount, the company and school said in a joint press release last November just before Veterans Day. The tuition discount will be applied on top of any additional federal and student aid benefits, according to the release. In addition, the VA Department said the GI Bill at SNHU provides a "guaranteed 80 - 90 percent coverage of tuition costs to achieve a bachelor's degree."
SNHU is the largest nonprofit university in the nation and has had a longstanding commitment to supporting U.S. service members, the company and school's release said. The university also serves more than 17,000 military-affiliated learners.
"At SNHU, we understand the unique needs of veterans as they work toward a college degree and transition into civilian life," said Paul LeBlanc, University President and CEO of SNHU. "We are proud to be working with Walgreens to provide veterans with more than just a job. Through this new initiative, veterans will be able to tap into their military experience to lead teams at Walgreens, develop workforce-relevant skills through higher education, and put themselves on a path to a meaningful career post-military."
Walgreens is also proud to offer military leave and military bridge pay to eligible team members, according to the VA. Employee store discounts are also extended to spouses and eligible dependents, the department said.
The HERO program's career opportunities are posted here.