You know that feeling when you’re patiently standing to the side as your prescription is filled at the pharmacy.
Or, waiting to hear whether your insurance company will cover the medicine your doctor just ordered for you.
Or, visiting the drive-thru late at night to buy the right remedy for a loved one sick at home.
All of these scenarios rely on the skills of a workforce dedicated to helping Americans have a better quality of life. Individuals who have the enormous responsibility of dispensing prescription medication to customers or health professionals…in a precise and often fast timeframe. They work in pharmacies, including those found in drug stores, big box retailers, grocery markets, and in hospitals, as well as mail-order fulfillment centers. With increased demand in medications, especially as our society ages, so will the demand for pharmaceutical goods and services.
To meet the rising need for pharmacy workers (with a projected job growth average over the next ten years of four percent*), CVS Health has partnered with JEVS Human Services to feed the talent pipeline. Serving more than 25,000 program participants each year—representing populations such as low-income adults, veterans, returning citizens and individuals with disabilities—JEVS was well positioned to provide a diverse pool of candidates for pharmacy technician careers, as well as other job positions within CVS store locations that constantly need filling.
Features of CVS + JEVS Partnership
The result of the CVS and JEVS partnership is a new Workforce Innovation Talent Center (WITC) opening this month at our career education location in Northeast Philadelphia, home of JEVS’ Orleans Technical College. JEVS program participants and the community-at-large will now have on-site access to a major employer, offering career pathway training and health enhancing services.
The career training opportunities and ancillary services that JEVS will provide in partnership with CVS at the Center include:
- Pharmacy Technician training program, which prepares students to become Certified Pharmacy Technicians through classroom instruction, 165 hours of training at the Center, and job placement assistance
- Logistics-Piece-Picker training for warehouse operations positions in nearby Lumberton, NJ
- Wellness services, including smoking cessation seminars, flu shot clinics, healthy eating, and more
On-site Job Training at the WITC
The new CVS Workforce Innovation Talent Center on-site at JEVS is the largest of its kind in the city, now among like centers in Boston, Cleveland, New York City, and Washington, D.C. The space houses a classroom, office space, and a full mock pharmacy that closely resembles an active CVS Pharmacy location.
According to CVS Health, “attracting and retaining talented colleagues is essential as CVS pursues its purpose of helping people on their path to better health. Through a variety of workforce initiatives, CVS helps to provide meaningful job training and employment opportunities to individuals from diverse backgrounds.”
The WITC is a key component to these initiatives. JEVS’s first cohort of pharmacy technician trainees are half-way through a 10-week program, that includes online instruction, as well as hands-on practice in the mock pharmacy. Students are supported by the guidance and motivation by success coaches in the JEVS EduConnect program.
For Nasriyn M., a 31-year-old from the Germantown neighborhood in Philadelphia, the opportunity for training–which is currently at no cost thanks to grant funding from CVS–couldn’t have come at a better time.
“I had been taking classes at Community College of Philadelphia for early childhood education, but stopped when my children switched to remote learning,” she said. “I’ve done the home health care job, but it’s a lot of physical demand. This career path is very appealing.”
Nasriyn is determined and excited about this new direction in her life. She recently started a small lemonade business with her 5 and 9-year-olds and have had some success getting it into local shops. But, the idea to start a new career while she pays down her college loan debt? “Pharmacy techs are in demand, and I could go anywhere with it, she said. Once you get your foot in the door, there’s a lot of potential.”
For Patricia, at age 50 after working the last 20 years for 9-1-1, a pivot to a new health care related profession was much needed. “I’ve been on the line with many sick, injured, you name it. I need this new career path to put my energies into helping people to get better.”
Instructor David London, who has worked for Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania for 33 years, explains “Once you learn the skill set and understand the process involved—from the time someone receives a script to the time you hand it to them—there is more than enough work for you. My students are seeing the inner workings from the other side of the counter. I’m not only covering the metric system for medicine in-depth, but the computer data system, insurance look-up, dosing/packaging, and, most of all, customer service.”
Benefits to Job Seeker Community
The start of the career training program and official opening of the WITC this month was delayed due to COVID restrictions, but is a much-needed resource as JEVS Human Services strives to get Philadelphians back to work.
“We are excited that our work over the past couple of years with CVS has come to fruition, and has the potential to provide living wage positions with advancement pathways, health care apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships, as well as externships for our emerging health care training programs,” said Nandi Jones Clement, vice president of business development at JEVS. “This partnership is important in helping job seekers from populations typically underrepresented in workplaces to obtain meaningful employment and a path to better health.”
The new CVS Health WITC location at JEVS will also serve as a training site for CVS stores’ new hires throughout the region.