Ricky Derring is a real-life hero. In his 14 years with the U.S. military, he was a Ranger, a sniper, and a Green Beret serving in Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan and Iraq. “I knew that every single day, I made a difference,” he says of his service.
Then he came home. “I wasn’t worried about getting a job,” he says. “I was worried about having a purpose.” Derring has found his purpose at CVS Health; managing a store in North Carolina and helping his fellow veterans make the often-challenging transition to civilian life.
Connecting Veterans with Training and Employment Opportunities
Derring is a key part of our new Talent Connect Center, which opened in July 2017 to serve the Fort Bragg, NC military community. CVS Health and a small number of other companies participate in the newly dedicated Fort Bragg Career Resource Center, which connects service members who are separating from service with companies that can provide training and employment.
When he’s not busy with his full-time job managing a CVS Pharmacy, Derring manages a 12-week training program for veterans who want to become store managers. He currently oversees 19 trainee veterans working in stores throughout his region. Graduates from the program return home to manage stores throughout the country.
Many soldiers have little or no experience applying to conventional civilian jobs. The Talent Connect Center is equipped with virtual-reality equipment that helps to simulate interviews and videoconferencing technology that help soldiers network with CVS Health leaders. They can learn more about the CVS Health culture and roles and opportunities around the country.
The Talent Connect Center also offers training in the Army Career Skills Program (CSP), in which employers provide low- or no-cost training to active-duty soldiers who will leave the military in six months or less. The CSP smooths the path to civilian life by helping soldiers gain the skills they need to be successful before entering the open job market.
A Smooth Transition
Derring, part of CVS Health’s Emerging Leaders program, says the CSP helps veterans acclimate to the very different structure and culture of civilian life. And when soldiers nearing the end of their service meet Derring, they meet a role model for a successful transition.
Derring himself is inspired by several CVS Health managers above him who are veterans, including his District Manager, Mark Scheidig. “My District Manager appreciates the values of the military, and I knew he was going to be able to guide me through my development,” Derring says. “CVS Health has such a focus and dedication to training and building the business from within.”
The Training Connect Center at Fort Bragg is just one part of our Heroes2Careers Military Hiring Program, which promotes the recruitment, hiring, and advancement of veterans. We are exploring providing similar opportunities for veterans at other bases and other military branches.