Great Prospects for Philadelphia Students Thanks to an Apprenticeship Program with CVS Health

Students in the pharmacy technician program at the Philadelphia Job Corps Life Science Institute are hard at work. It’s a popular program, and one that has great job prospects.

“There is absolutely a need for pharmacy technicians,” says Leslie Reis who’s with CVS Health.

The company has a unique apprenticeship program with Philadelphia Job Corps and other organizations. Two years ago, Philadelphia’s workforce development group approached CVS Health to create an apprenticeship program.

“We are looking to bring and hire 70 apprentices through this partnership. And there are some other partners, but one of our primary partners and our inaugural partner was Job Corps Philadelphia.”

Leslie is the senior manager for CVS Health’s workforce initiatives, a division in the company whose sole purpose is to find underserved individuals, to see if they’d be a good fit for their company.

“You know, people wonder, ‘Well, why is CVS doing this? Why do you have this function?’ Our function is all about connecting to and finding those underserved populations and giving them an opportunity to come into a Fortune 5 company and be successful.”

So far, CVS has placed 20 Philadelphia Job Corps students in their apprenticeship program and hired four graduates full time.

“It worked for us because we are always looking for talent,” says Leslie. “CVS Health needs technicians throughout our business.”

Retail techs start around $13 dollars an hour, but there is a lot of room to move up within CVS.

“For CVS, we really have three levels for our pharmacy technicians,” explains Leslie.

Retail is entry level, then there’s Omnicare which provides medications to nursing homes and other facilities, and Coram which is the highest level and involves infusion technologies.

Philadelphia Job Corps has a mock CVS pharmacy at the school—it’s a great learning experience.

“Being here, being able to learn, counting, compounding, IV,” says one of the pharmacy tech students at Philadelphia Job Corps.

In addition to the apprenticeship program, CVS provides Philadelphia Job Corps students with other on-the-job training opportunities. For both Job Corps and CVS Health, creating opportunities for long-term careers is crucial.

“That’s always an important question. It’s important from a business perspective. It’s important for funders. Is there a career path? Is there a track?”