FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 15, 2018) – The Carl D. Perkins Vocational Training Center in Thelma and CVS Health celebrated the grand opening of the CVS Retail Pharmacy Collaborative program and mock pharmacy store with a ribbon cutting at the center today. The new collaboration will train Kentuckians with disabilities for employment in a retail store such as CVS Pharmacy, and be the first mock pharmacy program in the state.
“Congratulations to CVS Health and the Perkins Center on this innovative training program that will integrate individuals with disabilities into the workforce,” said Gov. Matt Bevin. “It is exciting to see policy options from our Kentucky Work Matters Task Force already being put into action — creating career opportunities for those previously left outside of the working arena. The CVS Retail Pharmacy Collaborative program will not only benefit individuals and employers, it will have a significant impact on families, communities, and those who follow in the future.”
CVS Health is providing the Perkins Center with a curriculum, inventory and mock pharmacy store setup for hands-on training for jobs skills such as providing customer service and working at the cash register.
“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,” said David Casey, vice president, Workforce Strategies and Chief Diversity Officer. “We are proud to be working with the Kentucky Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) and the Perkins Center to help citizens with disabilities access the security and prosperity that stable jobs can provide.”
Individuals who complete the initial 12-week front retail store associate training program will qualify to apply for a position at a CVS Pharmacy location. In the future, the collaborative also plans to offer a pharmacy technician program at the center.
“We are excited about the career opportunities that this new partnership with CVS Health will bring to Kentuckians with disabilities,” said Ray Leathers, commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Workforce Investment. “We truly appreciate the commitment that CVS Health is making to our state to break down barriers to careers and independence for Kentuckians with disabilities.”
The Perkins Center is operated by OVR in the Department of Workforce Investment.
“The Perkins Center serves a statewide population and since there are 66 CVS Pharmacy locations across the state that equates to hundreds of competitive integrated employment opportunities for our students,” said Perkins Center Director Barbara Pugh. “We can’t say enough good things about our partnership with CVS Health. It has been such a positive experience. This project will certainly serve as our model for future public-private partnerships.”
The Perkins Center is one of eight locations across the country with a pharmacy program that CVS is opening by the end of 2018 as the result of a collaboration with the National Consortium of State-Operated Comprehensive Rehabilitation Centers (NCSOCRC). The purpose of the program is to help Americans with disabilities find meaningful employment at CVS Health locations or similar retail stores.
The first CVS mock pharmacy location of its kind opened in Fishersville, Va., at the Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center in April 2016. Since then more than 50 students have gone through the program and all of them have been hired by CVS Pharmacy or a similar store.
Four Perkins Center students are currently going through the program. One student, Jonathan Connors, said he appreciates the experience he is gaining through the program.
“The CVS Health training has provided me with the opportunity to learn what it really means to be working in the real world by providing me a first-hand experience working at a CVS Pharmacy,” Connors said. “The training has benefitted me by giving me the skill to not only work at CVS, but also in any other retail store in the future. Thus, granting me the chance to make a start in the working world.”
The Perkins Center serves individuals with many types of disabilities to achieve their vocational goals. Students may live on campus in dormitory housing or commute to the center for classes and/or therapy. It has been in operation since 1973.
For more information about the center, visit https://kcc.ky.gov/Vocational-Rehabilitation/cdpvtc/Pages/default.aspx.