CVS Health Customized Training Curricula


Since early 2014, WWRC and the designated DARS/DRS regional Business Development Manager have cultivated an emerging partnership with CVS Pharmacy through its corporate office.  This partnership has promoted improved disability education and awareness within the CVS business community, enhanced WWRC's Materials Handling Training Program curriculum, and resulted in successful employment outcomes for DARS Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) clients.   Elements of this partnership include:


  • Linkages with DRS Business Development Managers:  The Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) employs Division of Rehabilitative Services (DRS) Business Development Managers who continuously assess labor market data and workforce trends across the Commonwealth of Virginia to locate and cultivate relationships with businesses and corporate entities interested in hiring people with disabilities.  The Business Development Managers serve as consultants on disability issues and provide a single Agency point of contact to facilitate integration of comprehensive Agency services. 
  • Agency and CVS Corporate Level Strategic Planning:  The regional DRS Business Development Manager, WWRC Director, and CVS Executives negotiated a formal corporate level agreement allowing CVS internships for qualified DRS Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) clients, thus enhancing access to job opportunities.  This Work Experience Training Agreement gave the 'green light' for Student Internships and Unpaid Work Experiences with CVS stores across the Commonwealth of Virginia.  The corporate CVS Office tracks these agreements, as well as applications for employment where DRS and WWRC clients are involved.
  • DRS Office Referral Coordination:  Any DRS Office with a potentially qualified client applying for employment with CVS and/or interested in an unpaid work experience with CVS is expected to contact the designated DRS Business Development Manager to serve as a liaison with the local CVS Pharmacy. 
  • WWRC CVS Pharmacy Training (in development):  CVS is currently exploring the establishment of a CVS Pharmacy Training Program at WWRC, with VR clients to be selected for participation through a targeted vocational evaluation conducted at WWRC.  The vocational evaluation would be customized based on a job analysis of CVS pharmacy tasks and position functions.  Internships would be coordinated in accordance with the CVS/DRS Work Experience Training Agreement and graduates of the CVS Pharmacy Training Program would be qualified to interview for available CVS employment opportunities across the state.
  • CVS Marketing Video - "Don't Dis Me":  In Fall, 2014, as part of an ongoing corporate initiative to hire qualified individuals with disabilities, a CVS Video Production Crew visited WWRC to create a marketing video that highlights disability employment, featuring a number of WWRC clients, staff, and facilities.  


Click here for a YouTube video that describes the existing partnership with CVS Health.  This partnership not only with WWRC, but also with other comprehensive rehabilitation centers and VR agencies across the nation, was also featured in the Council of State Administrators in Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR) Vision 2020 Investing in America Report, published in April, 2018, and shared at the 2018 CSAVR Conference in Baltimore, Maryland.


Update March, 2017:  The CVS partnership continues to evolve at the Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center (WWRC).  Steve Sweeney, Manufacturing and Production Operational Supervisor, and Mike Kelley, Director of Residential Services, made a trip to the Hiram G. Andrews Center in Pennsylvania to pick up a CVS pharmacy technician countertop. The countertop is being donated to WWRC by Duane Rohr, Workforce Initiatives Manager at CVS, to help start the Pharmacy Technician program at WWRC in the Materials Handling classroom.  This countertop will allow the consumers authentic hands-on experiences with actual CVS materials which hopefully will generalize to the workforce environment.   Duane was recently assigned to work with our counterpart VR Training Centers in Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Michigan to replicate the model implemented here at WWRC with the mock store.


Update June, 2017:  WWRC met with top executives from CVS Health to tighten business processes for applying and finalizing the preliminary requirement CVS has for applications.  Duane Rohr of CVS will be holding a monthly call with WWRC staff and offer a promotional session with consumers, as needed.  Duane also reviewed the overview of the CVS Pre-Pharmacy Tech Training that WWRC will provide when WWRC's renovated space opens.  Rick Sizemore and Amy Blalock, representing WWRC, are collaborating with the other seven national VR Training Centers to evolve promotional materials for use by field offices associated with Centers to educate interested consumers on the benefits of working in CVS positions.  Additionally, the President of the VR Training Centers continues dialogue with Kathy West-Evans and the National Employment Team on synergies that can be achieved by harnessing a "common curriculum" across Centers.  As WWRC was the first VR Training Center to have a mock store, we are evolving a set of best practices and a webinar that can be shared for the Centers that are still in a startup mode.  CVS is working to ensure a consistent look and feel for all of its mock stores, and toward that end, provided paint and a decorative scheme that have been adopted in a portion of the Anderson Building which is currently being renovated to house the WWRC mock store. 


Update August, 2017 (excerpt from the August 9th Centerline):

As we look forward to the Anderson renovations being completed, at least phase one, the CVS partnership continues to grow and evolve. Do you remember Kaylee Rushing? She’s gotten married and her name now is Kaylee Merrick; she has worked at CVS for a year. In a special episode podcast, hear what she thinks about vocational rehabilitation and her life now that she is working and how this model is being replicated across other centers like WWRC. The newly renovated space is even being painted with the official CVS colors and we have new shelving being installed to really make it better for consumers. Once in the new space, our team will begin working closely with CVS to offer Pre-pharmacy Tech programming. We have learned some important lessons over the past year, and now have monthly conference calls with the Champion of all Workforce Champions at CVS, Duane Rohr. With additional academic supports and careful screening, we are quickly moving to galvanize our processes to fill the CVS pipelines. Rick Sizemore


 Update October, 2017:  On Wednesday, October 11, 2017, Duane Rohr, CVS Health Manager of Workforce Initiatives, came to the Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center (WWRC). The purpose of the visit was to train WWRC staff to be "trainers" on the CVS Health Virtual Job Tryout (VJT), which is part of the CVS Health application process. The VJT is a lynchpin in the success of consumers accessing employment with CVS Health, and will allow CVS Health to fill their talent pipeline in a variety of positions. After the training, Mr. Rohr toured four local CVS stores that have WWRC internship consumers and received many positive comments, such as, "The DARS/WWRC consumers have exceptional customer services skills" and "We love having them in our stores and we are glad we are a part of this program." Mr. Rohr will return to WWRC in January 2018 to start the process of implementing a CVS Pre-Pharmacy Technician Program at WWRC.


Update November, 2017:   During the annual meeting of the National Consortia of State Operated Comprehensive Rehabilitation Centers (re-branded in 2018 as the Nation's VR Training Centers) held in Johnstown, Pennsylvania this month, Hiram G. Andrews Rehabilitation Center held its Ribbon Cutting and Grand Opening for its new CVS Health Mock Store, modelled after the one operating at WWRC in partnerhsip with CVS Health.  It was exciting to hear top executives from CVS reaffirm their commitment to growing their support of comprehensive Centers.  They not only discussed the success of the CVS efforts at WWRC, but opened the program by showing the "Don't Dis Me" video, and describing their work with WWRC to get this initiative up and running across all the VR Training Centers.  Another Mock Store was recently opened in Arkansas, and the Corporate Offices of CVS initiated a national press release highlighting Kaylee Merrick, WWRC's first CVS graduate, and the Center's role in the relationship with the national employer.  Five additional stores are scheduled to open through 2018 in VR Training Centers located in Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Michigan and Maryland (Read the press release here) .


Update February, 2018: WWRC has continued to grow its relationship with CVS Health.  Students can now train in the mock store at WWRC and transition into an internship with one of the local CVS stores.  The level of support from CVS Health is extraordinary and company contacts are in close communication with DARS Business Development and Job Placement staff to monitor the job application process.   CVS Health recently shared a Pre-Pharmacy Tech training curriculum with WWRC which will be available as a new training program in early Spring, 2018, for students who have successfully completed retail training through WWRC.   This month, WWRC staff met Duane Rohr, CVS Worforce Initiative Manager for ten states, in Powhatan, VA, to tear down a closed CVS store.  Through this process. Mr. Rohr graciously donated shelving units, pharmacy counters, and other CVS specific products to place in the newly renovated Materials Handling classroom in the WWRC Anderson Training Building when renovations are completed.   This donation from CVS will allow WWRC Materials Handling students to experience an authentic assessment in the new Pre-Pharmacy Technician module. The ultimate goal is to have this new program as a federally-recognized Pre-Apprenticeship Program that will facilitate acceptance to a full Pharmacy Technician Program within the community college setting after graduation from the WWRC Program.