The Dual Customer: Individuals with Disabilities and Business

NOTE: October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Axel and Celia

Axel Garay, Manager, and Celia, Operations Supervisor at CVS Health in Potomac, MD

By Chris Pope, OSERS RSA, and Kathy West-Evans, CSAVR

CSAVR’s National Employment Team (the NET) is excited to highlight CVS Health — a business at the forefront of building an inclusive workplace for individuals with disabilities through its partnership with VR programs across the country, including the Maryland Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS).

CVS Health is championing the work that State VR agencies are leading through its long-term partnership with the NET. From day one, CVS Health guided the NET on how to build better relationships with business and throughout the partnership have supported a number of initiatives that have resulted in careers for individuals with disabilities in retail, distribution, and health care, including Pharmacy Technicians in many States.

Through its partnership with the NET, CVS Health launched a Pharmacy Technician training program — now offered as an apprenticeship — and store front to manager opportunities in retail, just a couple examples of its business-based training program. CVS Health has also worked with VR comprehensive training centers to develop programs that enable individuals with disabilities to participate in pre-employment training then transition into the workplace. In a recent NET survey, State VR agencies identified 500 candidates hired at CVS Health in a number of roles.

There are several VR success stories, but Celia from Maryland stands out! One of DORS’ community partners — the Jewish Social Service Agency — referred Celia to CVS Health in Potomac, MD where she began her career as an Extern in September 2017. Since then, CVS Health has promoted Celia twice. First from Cashier to Shift Supervisor then to Operations Supervisor as recently as this month. Celia is clearly on a career path and she could not be more excited about these opportunities “as well as contributing to a great company!”

Stacey Butler, an Advisor in Workforce Initiatives with CVS Health, said that “Hiring people with Abilities should be a part of a company’s everyday culture.” Her colleague, Duane Rohr, also an Advisor in Workforce Initiatives, explained that, “CVS Health doesn’t look at your disability, we look at your capability. We hire individuals with disabilities in all positions.”

Kathy West-Evans, who leads the NET as CSAVR’s Director of Business Relations shared that “CVS Health has been a great partner with public VR and the NET. At the national level, we have all learned a lot from the CVS team about their career opportunities, the job requirements, and the work environment. This partnership has built a talent pipeline – one that promotes and retains valued employees with disabilities.”

For more information about the VR program in Maryland, visit our partners at Maryland DORS.

The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services’ Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) recognizes the importance of serving the Dual Customer – providing high-quality VR services to help individuals with disabilities maximize their employment opportunities and effectively engaging the business community. RSA encourages VR programs across the country to share their Dual Customer success stories.

RSA is pleased to celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month and highlight partnerships and success stories for individuals with disabilities.

Blog articles provide insights on the activities of schools, programs, grantees, and other education stakeholders to promote continuing discussion of educational innovation and reform. Articles do not endorse any educational product, service, curriculum or pedagogy

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