Mayor Emanuel today announced that Walgreens plans to bring 600 new jobs to Chicago over the next two years, under its new “Chicago Hometown Investment Initiative,” and quadruple the number of its stores located in food deserts across the city’s neighborhoods.
“This dual investment by Walgreens will have a profound effect on the city of Chicago,” said Mayor Emanuel. “The 600 new jobs will have a strong impact on our economy, and the nearly 40 new stores will allow many of our residents to get fresh, healthy food for their families. This is an example of a corporation that is committed to both the City of Chicago and its mission.”
Roughly half of the jobs are expected to result from expansion of Walgreens downtown office space for E-commerce, information technology and related areas. Another 300 jobs in the city are planned to be created by remodeling of many of Walgreens 142 Chicago drugstores and new store openings, including the planned expansion of the number of stores located in Chicago’s food deserts from 11 to nearly 50 over the next two years. These stores, or Walgreens food oasis locations, offer a broader selection of healthy foods to address the food desert issue facing many communities.
“Walgreens is proud of our historic roots in Chicago and pleased to take our presence in the city to a new level by bringing more jobs and contributing to the prosperity and quality of life here,” said Walgreens President and CEO Greg Wasson. “We already employ more than 4,500 people in the city, and the additional jobs we plan to bring here will position us to serve community needs in new and better ways.”
This Walgreens announcement is the fifth major jobs announcement Mayor Emanuel has made in his term as Mayor, for a total of 3,600 jobs. Earlier this week he announced that Allscripts is bringing 300 jobs to the city and has agreed to host its annual conference in Chicago for the next three years.
Mayor Emanuel has made food deserts a priority during the campaign and in his administration. He recently convened a summit of CEOs of grocery chains to discuss the issue, in which Walgreens participated. Additionally, the city has released new maps that outline the food deserts in Chicago using the latest data.