Around 1 in 5 Americans, or more than 55 million people, live with a disability. Unfortunately, finding a job can be much more difficult for this population than for people living without a disability. In 2016, the unemployment rate for the disabled was more than double the rate for those without a disability. While these figures are cause for concern, many businesses have ramped up disability inclusion initiatives in recent years and CVS Health has been at the forefront of these efforts.
CVS Health sees abilities in abundance
CVS Health has a long history of promoting diversity in the workplace. Initiatives aimed at disability inclusion have earned the company accolades from organizations like the U.S. Business Leadership Network (USBLN) and the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD). Most recently, CVS Health has received attention from the New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (NYSDDPC) and Our Ability, a company dedicated to building employment opportunities for the disabled.
Through a nationwide network of Workforce Initiatives Programs, CVS Health offers employment training opportunities to a diverse group of disadvantaged individuals, including those with disabilities. As part of a video series highlighting disability inclusion initiatives in New York businesses, NYSDDPC and Our Ability featured several CVS Health employees with disabilities who had completed job training at the regional learning center in New York City.
Seen in the video are Kevin, Jeanette, and Ronald, engaging in job-related tasks and discussing what their jobs mean to them. “Helping customers makes me happy,” Ronald says. “I enjoy working with my managers, my supervisors,” Kevin declares. “They’re all great. And my teammates, too.”
Also seen are employees like Edward Galis, a CVS Health Store Manager who supervises Kevin. “He’s actually one of the best employees that I have,” Galis says about Kevin. “He always has a smile on his face, he’s always happy, he’s always eager to be here.”
While CVS Health believes in a responsibility to promote disability inclusion in the workplace, partnering with organizations like Our Ability and NYSDDPC has significantly strengthened these efforts and improved employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
“As a society, it takes great partnerships to tackle some of our most complex problems,” Our Ability CEO John Robinson said. “The unemployment rate for people with disabilities is the highest among any diversity category. Between leading businesses, community activism and individual inspiration, we can build employment opportunities for people with disabilities. We are proud to work with a leader in this category with CVS Health. We look forward to continuing our work together across all of New York State and beyond.”
Diversity, disability inclusion a core part of corporate identity
At CVS Health, efforts to foster diverse workplaces are driven by the belief that the diversity of customers and communities served should be reflected in the workforces serving them. For this reason, inclusion in the workplace has become a core part of corporate identity. “Disability inclusion, like all inclusion, is about diversity of thought and diversity of experiences in order to be able to help the communities in which we serve,” Dana Fitzgerald, a CVS HR Business Partner in New York City, said in the video produced by NYSDDPC and Our Ability.
The emphasis on inclusion at CVS Health has not gone unrecognized. Last year, USBLN and AAPD awarded CVS Health with the top rating of 100 on the 2017 Disability Equality Index. Additionally, through partnerships with organizations like NYSDDPC and Our Ability, CVS Health is able to leverage past experience with diversity initiatives to help other businesses do the same.