CVS/pharmacy to Introduce One Million Inner-City and Rural Youths to Careers in Pharmacy

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

WOONSOCKET, R.I., March 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- CVS/pharmacy, America's largest retail pharmacy, today announced the company's commitment to introduce one million inner-city and rural youth to careers in pharmacy as part of its partnership with America's Promise - The Alliance for Youth. With this commitment, CVS/pharmacy will provide youth job opportunities generating up to $4 million in wages by 2010.

The pledge was announced at the Metropolitan Regional Career and Technical Center (Met School) in Providence, Rhode Island at the official kickoff of the national Pathways to Pharmacy program for 2007. Pathways to Pharmacy is a nationwide internship program started by CVS/pharmacy in 2000 to help disadvantaged youth take a first step in a pharmacy career. Since the program's creation, it has expanded to serve almost 40 cities and 1,800 high-schoolers a year. The program is launching in a number of new cities this summer, including Providence, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Miami and Chicago.

"Many of today's youths are the pharmacists of tomorrow and we are thrilled to kick-off this year's Pathways to Pharmacy program in our home state," said V. Michael Ferdinandi, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, CVS/pharmacy. "America's Promise has been integral to the program's success and we believe our partnership will build both a future workforce and stronger communities."

"CVS/pharmacy's Pathways to Pharmacy program coincides seamlessly with our larger purpose of mobilizing Americans to make young people an urgent national priority," said Alma Powell, Chairman of America's Promise. "We are delighted to partner with CVS/pharmacy, a truly outstanding corporate leader that is providing kids in communities across the nation with opportunities to succeed in school and life."

For the Pathways to Pharmacy launch, best-selling author and educator Stedman Graham spoke with Met School high-schoolers on the topics of aiming high and overcoming adversity. The attending students have expressed a passion for math and science and an interest in pursuing a job in pharmacy or a healthcare-related field. Mr. Graham's "Teens Can Make It Happen" workshop is a leadership development program that benefits audiences of all ages.

"We are honored to host the launch of CVS/pharmacy's Pathways to Pharmacy Program and Stedman Graham's workshop at the Met School," said Dennis Littky, Co-director of the Metropolitan Regional Career and Technical Center and The Big Picture Company. "The Met is founded on the belief that students must be actively engaged in their education and have the opportunity to pursue their passions. Introducing high-schoolers to Stedman's workshop and CVS/pharmacy's internship program is a great opportunity to help familiarize our students, who have already displayed a genuine interest in healthcare-related fields, to the job opportunities out there that companies like CVS/pharmacy make possible."

CVS/pharmacy hopes to make a pharmacy career more accessible to disadvantaged students, especially given that the road to becoming a pharmacist entails at least six years of focused undergraduate and graduate study, and graduate programs in pharmacy nationwide have a very low percentage of African-American and Hispanic students. Meanwhile, with the retiring of many current pharmacists slated for the next decade, and with growing pharmaceutical needs nationwide, CVS/pharmacy is taking a proactive step to help educate the next generation of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.

Following their paid internships, students will be eligible to continue working at CVS/pharmacy and work toward a national certification to become a pharmacy technician. CVS/pharmacy also offers various training and funding opportunities to help its employees progress in their pharmacy careers to become pharmacy technicians and pharmacists.

About the America's Promise Alliance

Founded by retired General Colin L. Powell, America's Promise is the nation's largest private-public partnership committed to ensuring that every child receives the five fundamental resources - the Five Promises - essential for success: caring adults, safe places, a healthy start, an effective education and opportunities to help others. Visit www.americaspromise.org for more information.