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Helping young moms thrive

May 09, 2017 | Community

CVS Health program participant Lisdany Arteaga

When Lisdany Arteaga, 19, first learned about a free, eight-week pharmacy technician training program offered to young mothers, she was skeptical. “I thought, look at us — we’re young, pregnant teenagers. Who’s going to want to help us?”

But the program surprised Arteaga, who was seven months pregnant when she began her training. Jon DaSilva, CVS Health Regional Learning Center Manager in Boston and his team built the partnership with Roca, a nonprofit organization that helps high-risk youth find meaningful work. Arteaga was one of eight young mothers who graduated last summer from the first pharmacy technician training session through this partnership. Working both online and in stores, trainees learn how to interact with patients and ensure that prescriptions are filled promptly and accurately.

DaSilva and his team did more than offer training, Arteaga says: They supported her as she transformed from a pregnant teen to a confident working mother. Born to a family of Colombian immigrants, Arteaga dropped out of high school in the tenth grade. She obtained her GED, took some classes at a local community college and worked as a restaurant hostess, but found it hard to find a job that could support a family after she got pregnant. She was in her final months of pregnancy when she enrolled in the pharmacy technician training and started work at a CVS Pharmacy near Boston University at the program’s completion.

When her daughter Jahaira was born, she took time off and was granted a request to transfer to a CVS Pharmacy closer to home. Her managers let her start working part-time and increased her hours as her daughter got older. “They were really understanding,” she says. “I am able to see Jahaira at daycare on my breaks; she’s just five minutes away.”

Now, Arteaga’s income helps support not only her and her daughter but also her father and little brother. And she has big plans: earning a national pharmacy technician license, going back to school to become a pharmacist or a psychologist, and maybe even writing a book.

Whatever she does, she’ll have her job at CVS Pharmacy as a strong foundation. “This is steady,” she says. “I can support my family and I couldn’t be more grateful to have had this program and the opportunities it has brought me.”

“The young mothers we have met through Roca are passionate, hard-working and eager-to-succeed prospective employees,” DaSilva says. “The young women who completed the program shared personal experiences that help to shape CVS Health’s story.”

“With growth comes new markets, new pharmacies and, of course, new employees,” adds David Casey, Vice President of Workforce Strategies and Chief Diversity Officer for CVS Health. “To find the best employees, CVS Health doesn’t limit itself to traditional talent sources. Instead, a set of programs and community partnerships brings in talented workers from previously untapped pools to the world of pharmacy.”