Hear About the Girl with the Semicolon Tattoo a Year After She Started Working at CVS

The Girl with the semi colon tattoo a year later

Rick Sizemore

Director of the Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center

Anne Hudlow

Director of the WWRC Foundation


Our Special Guests

Steve Wooderson is the CEO of CSAVR

Jonathan Bibb is the President of the National Consortium of State Operated Comprehensive Rehabilitation Centers 501 454 6428


Singers: vrworkforcestudio.

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Rick: Welcome to the VR workforce studio, we always appreciate you getting involved with the show and spending some time in the disability employment and vocational rehabilitation conversation. I’m Rick Sizemore, director of the Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center.

Anne: And I’m Anne Hudlow, director of the Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center foundation. Hey, I hope you’ll join us around the fifteenth of each month for our big inspiration showcase. We trace the footsteps of individuals with disabilities on courageous journeys of vocational rehabilitation.

Rick: But on today’s special report it’s all about one the greats, CVS health, if you are a person with a disability and if you ever thought about a career in retail.

Anne: Or if you know someone with a disability that is thinking about going to work, they would want to hear this story. We are bringing back the girl with the semi colon tattoo, Kaylee Merrick a year after she started her career with CVS.

Rick: And Jonathan Bib, the president of the national consortium of the state operated comprehensive rehabilitation center is with us to talk about how CVS is establishing these mock training centers, all across the country this national effort being supported by key influencers. So, maybe there is a job at CVS for YOU or someone you love.

Anne: Kaylee Merrick graduated from WWRC last year in April and quickly started a job in CVS, got married and is living the dream. Welcome back Kaylee!

Kaylee: Thank you, glad to be back. I miss Woodrow!

Anne: Well, we miss having you here. How’s it going there at CVS?

Kaylee: It’s going great; um I actually helped out at three of them or wherever I’m needed. I love who I work with, I love all the managers, I feel welcomed.

Anne: That’s wonderful!

Kaylee: It’s amazing, I love it!

Anne: That’s wonderful, and how’s married life? Haha, happy?

Kaylee: Married life is great, you know you love them when you want to strangle them but you don’t because you will miss them.

Anne: Ha-ha, well that’s great!

(Both laughing)

Rick: We have a really important question for you, Kaylee. Now that you have worked at CVS, for a year and you are out on the front lines, can you tell us how the vocational training at Wilson prepared you for a career at CVS?

Kaylee: Oh, of course! It was great, um first before you actually go out into a field. You have these classes and it prepares you. And um, they just don’t throw you out there, they prep you, and you go through these different cycles of different classes. They time you to see how good you are, and help you to better yourself. It preps you for situations, where a customer is not the friendliest but you have to just keep smiling and deal with it. Because um, they probably aren’t mad at you, they are mad at what is going on around you, and like there medicines probably aren’t re-filled or something. So it preps you, for that. Because it defiantly does, you definitely have to have patience in this job.

Rick: Is CVS a good company to work for?

Kaylee: Oh, definitely! They um, they have open arms to anyone. It’s wonderful; there are a lot of patience. Which is great, and such beautiful and friendly customers out there that you know you see, I have regulars now. It’s always a joy to see them and interact with them, it’s amazing!

Anne: Well, I can tell you that CVS is blessed to have you because I know that you are a wonderful person inside and out, and I’m sure GREAT as employee!

Kaylee: Thank you so much for having me, and you know including me in this program. I love it!

Rick: Well, Kaylee thank you so much for checking in with us, we wish you the very best in 2017 and beyond.

Kaylee: Thank you.

Rick: Take care, stay in touch.

Kaylee: Of course, always.

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Rick: Jonathan Bib is the president of the National consortium and the state operated comprehensive rehabilitation centers sometimes referred to as the Consortium and directs the Arkansas career and technical institute. He has had an extended career in vocational rehabilitation leadership, and a career in Tech Ed. Welcome Jonathan!

Johnathan: Thank you so much Rick for the opportunity.

Anne: Jonathan, thank you so much for being here. Could you give us a quick overview of the consortium?

Jonathan: Sure, Anne. We have eight comprehensive centers across the United States, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and Michigan. We all have very similar purposes so, one of the things that we wanted to do many years ago is form an alliance and form this consortium, so we can share ideas and work with each other on innovative practices and best practices. That has continued to develop and over the past year, we have really been able to form some partnerships, including some champions and CSAVR to really look at national employers, and find ways that we can partner with them.

Rick: Jonathan, what are the centers doing to capitalize all of the opportunities with all of these CVS jobs?

Jonathan: I have to give a lot of credit to Dwayne Roar; he has been a champion at CVS centers and has really gotten the ball rolling on a national perspective. I am hearing back from all the centers, that have now signed MOU’s with CVS to provide retail training. To get mock stores put into different locations, and to really focus in our and hone in on the retail training and to help our clients that we serve get some incredible jobs with CVS. Which is a great employer.

Rick: So CVS is setting up these stores all across the country in these various states that have comprehensive centers?

Jonathan: That is correct, we get a very large foot print and can draw from all over this state to focus in training and then ultimately get students back into their communities, working with an incredible employer that is looking out for their best interests and developing their careers, not just entry level job but also allowing for multiple pathways to make their way up within CVS. This last year has been filled with incredible opportunities and there are a couple of champions. I mentioned Dwayne Roar, but also Kathy West-Evans at CSAVR has done an incredible job of helping us from a national perspective. Let state directors know what is going on and also helping us with building those relationships with key individuals at CVS.

Rick: So it sounds like there is a national focus to pull all these centers together and these national influencers like CSAVR are leading the way.

Jonathan: You know we got regional managers, district managers, all coming to the center to make sure this is a success, so you got all levels of leadership and I mean just coming together it has been awe inspiring and also humbling that folks would look at what we do and get so excited, and just really, help us to really move forward with this great corporation. We have had the honor working closely with CVS but I think that’s just one corporation that shares this same vision and I know Kathy West-Evans and CSAVR is doing an incredible job of bringing these corporations together to really partner with all levels of VR but specifically with us as comprehensive centers.

Rick: Jonathan is the director of the Arkansas career and technical institute and joins us from his office in Hot springs, Arkansas. Thank you, Jonathan. Good luck!

Jonathan: Thank you so much, Rick.

Rick: And we have heard so much about CSAVR’s vision 2020.

Anne: Yes, we have Rick and I was able to reach Steve Wooderson this week, and he had this to say about vision 2020.

Steve: Well as the implementation rolls out for WIOA, we knew that there are plenty of opportunities and challenges that we are beginning to see. What we are really focused on when it comes to vision 2020 is to really celebrate the initiatives that we are seeing beginning to emerge as a result of our desire to really prioritize our responsiveness to WIOA. We want to be able to communicate those innovated practices, we want to be able to encourage free activity and opportunities to really open up some new partnerships, pathways, and passages that result in greater competitive integrative opportunities for our consumers and for our business partners. Vision 2020 is all about communicating those messages and encouraging state agencies to seek those new opportunities.

Rick: Thank you for joining us for today’s episode if you would like to find out more information you can find our contact information in the show notes at VRWorkforceStudio.com.

I am Rick Sizemore.

Anne: And I am Anne Hudlow

Rick: Sharing the courageous stories of….

Anne: Vocational Rehabilitation

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Rick: This has been a special episode of the VR Work Force Studios.

Support for the WWRC foundation’s production and distribution of the VR Workforce Studio comes from the Jessie Ball DuPont Foundation, Dominion Power, CVS Health and Virginia manufacturing association.

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