WTC-CVS Retail Inclusion Academy Celebration!

WTC's Jessica Hawes & Jim Evans in the mock store. Graduate Andrea Solomon with CCBC's Kristen Catchings, CVS's Duane Rohr.
PHOTOS: WTC's Jessica Hawes & Jim Evan, Inclusion Academy graduate, Andrea Solomon, and CVS' Duane Rohr
APRIL 2018 - DORS’ Workforce & Technology Center (WTC) and CVS Health have partnered to offer a retail training program for people with disabilities. This 10-week program is designed to train participants to work in competitive integrated employment in a retail setting, such as a CVS store.
 
The first group of students began training in January 2018 and graduated on April 27, 2018. DORS’ WTC and CVS Health celebrated the first graduates and officially opened the mock store with a ribbon cutting event after the graduation ceremony.
 
To support the WTC program, the CVS Health Workforce Initiatives team donated significant financial and personnel resources to develop and implement the training, including: shelving and products to set up the mock store, curriculum and other training materials, training for DORS staff, and work experience and support at Baltimore area stores that hosted the trainees.
 
The Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) also partnered with DORS’ WTC to deliver the training; a CCBC instructor helped develop the curriculum and ran the four weeks of WTC classroom instruction and mock store training. The students then moved on to six weeks of in-store work experience at Baltimore area CVS Pharmacy stores.
 
After completing the training, the students began applying for positions in local CVS Pharmacies and in similar retail stores. As of graduation, one student had already been hired by a CVS store, another was still training in a store, with hopes of being hired, and the other graduates were applying for positions.
 
David Casey, Vice President, Workforce Strategies and Chief Diversity Officer, CVS Health: "CVS Health is focused on breaking down employment barriers that individuals with disabilities face, through a proven combination of classroom instruction and on-the-job training. We are proud to be working with Maryland DORS’ Workforce & Technology Center to help citizens with disabilities access the security and prosperity that stable jobs can provide.”
 
The Federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act stresses the importance of working with employers and providing training to vocational rehabilitation (VR) consumers that is job-driven and ensures that they gain relevant skills for the workforce. This type of customized training program is an effective strategy to meeting those goals. The WTC-CVS training program is scheduled to be held three times in calendar year 2018, providing opportunities for up to 24 individuals.
 
CVS Health has been building a relationship with VR programs nationally and is developing similar workforce initiatives in a number of states. CVS has a map of the United States that they mark with a heart for each state that has an Inclusion Academy and mock store up and running in a National Consortium of State-Operated Comprehensive Rehabilitation Center (NCSOCRC).  WTC’s is the fourth in the country!