Abilities in Abundance: Our continued commitment to inclusive employment

With recent national unemployment rates for individuals with disabilities more than double that of people without disabilities, it’s evident that the disability community continues to face significant barriers to gaining and maintaining employment. At CVS Health, we’re addressing the national disability employment gap and helping break down the barriers faced by far too many with differing abilities. Our company’s ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion means that we believe in connecting individuals with disabilities with rewarding work experiences at CVS Health, which we do through our nationally recognized Abilities in Abundance program.

Led by CVS Health’s Workforce Initiatives team, Abilities in Abundance provides the tools, training, and support individuals need to build a path to better health, discover new career prospects and create a more promising future for themselves. Abilities in Abundance offers highly successful skills development programs, job training, and placement opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as those with visual impairments.

Through CVS Health’s ongoing work with partners from government organizations, community associations, and educational institutions, we’re able to find strong candidates who are often untapped sources of talent and are committed to learning the skills necessary to grow their careers. In collaboration with workforce partners and third-party organizations, we’ve been able to create effective workforce development programs aimed primarily towards job seekers from populations typically underrepresented in workplaces.

Training our Abilities in Abundance program participants

CVS Health’s invaluable relationships with state and local agencies, including the National Consortium of State-Operated Comprehensive Rehabilitation Centers (NCSOCRC) and Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR), have enabled us to help many individuals with disabilities gain meaningful employment.

For example, in collaboration with NCSOCR, we currently operate eight mock CVS Pharmacy locations, where people with disabilities receive classroom and hands-on training in life and job skills such as providing customer service, stocking shelves and working at the cash register. Each center is installed with mock equipment and participants work closely with trained staff to learn about the roles and responsibilities of front store and pharmacy technician positions.

CVS Health currently operates eight mock CVS Pharmacy locations, where people with disabilities receive classroom and hands-on training in life and job skills such as providing customer service, stocking shelves and working at the cash register.
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Our Workforce Innovation & Talent Centers (WITC), which are a part of CVS Health’s Workforce Initiatives program, also play a key role in the ongoing success of the Abilities in Abundance program, incorporating education on job skills and providing exposure to work in a retail environment. Each WITC houses a classroom, office space, a full mock pharmacy that closely resembles an active CVS Pharmacy location and is staffed by a full-time manager who facilitates relationships with internal and external partners. Many of the individuals who participate at our WITC later transition to positions within CVS Health or leverage their experience to obtain work elsewhere. Additionally, retention rates among CVS Health colleagues who participate in a WITC program are higher than for other colleagues.

Creating opportunities for individuals of all abilities

Kevin Kan, one of the many Abilities in Abundance success stories featured in the video, began his employment at CVS Pharmacy after completing the first ever mock store training program held in the New York City WITC with community partner FEGS, a nonprofit health and human services organization.

Kevin stood out among the crowd right from the beginning, as he was eager to learn all the retail store associate tasks and really strived to put his best foot forward throughout the customized employment program. Following the mock store training program, Kevin applied and interviewed for the retail store associate role, prior to even completing an in-store work experience program.

Kevin’s incredible work ethic and willingness to assist customers and his other colleagues has made him an exemplary retail employee. He has also volunteered to be a guest speaker for our mock store training program associates and has been asked on multiple occasions to join partnership meetings to share his experience with Abilities in Abundance.

To learn more about CVS Health’s employment and training programs, including Abilities in Abundance, visit the Workforce Initiatives page.