Walgreeens opens education and training center, Walgreens University, for employees

Deerfield, Ill. — Walgreens on Friday will open the doors to Walgreens University, an internal education center with technology-enhanced classrooms, a mock drug store and video-conferencing capabilities. The new learning center will be the base of operations for employee educational programs offered online and in regional locations nationwide.

"Investing in your professional development is good for you and good for Walgreens," Walgreens' chief executive Greg Wasson stated in the opening letter of the 2013 course catalog. "Several years in the making, Wag U is the result of thorough analysis, research and planning on the part of its board of governors, the Human Resources learning and development team and countless others across our organization who have developed and planned course offerings and learning experiences specific to Walgreen core competencies."

With the opening of Walgreens University, the company is doubling its annual investment in employee education and development. More than 100 courses will be available through one of the few corporate training programs to offer college credit for certain classes, including pharmacy technician training and management and retail fundamentals. U. S. companies overall increased spending on training and development 12% last year, the highest growth rate in eight years, Walgreens noted citing Bersin by Deloitte, a human resources consulting firm. That’s a reverse of recession-year spending in 2008 and 2009, when such investments dropped by 11% both years.