CVS Sets Example in Low-Wage Job Training

A cash register at the CVS training center.

A cash register at the CVS training center. Walter Watson hide caption

itoggle caption Walter Watson
CVS job coach Charnetta Young, left, leads a training session.

CVS job coach Charnetta Young, left, leads a training session at the company's Washington, D.C. Regional Learning Center. Walter Watson hide caption

itoggle caption Walter Watson

While the demand for low-wage and hourly-wage work is rising in the United States, the number of people available to fill those jobs is shrinking substantially. But one company — CVS/Pharmacy — has invested in a comprehensive training program to recruit and retain employees.

Three years ago, CVS opened its first Regional Learning Center, a mock store and pharmacy in Washington, D.C. that provides "on the job" training to participants. Often referred from placement agencies of welfare recipients and displaced workers, would-be store clerks attend classes about basic customer service, communication and cashier skills. Today, the company has multiple centers in key market areas, including Atlanta, Detroit and New York, all with the goal of creating a more stable workforce among entry-level positions. With government assistance, the CVS program has trained more than 20,000 participants.

NPR's Jennifer Ludden recently visited a CVS training center to learn more about the program.

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