CVS "Abilities and Abundance" Program Provides Jessica
with the Tools to Work Independently Again
Jessica is a member of Charles Webster Potter Place, a program of The Edinburg Center, and recent participant of the CVS Health "Abilities and Abundance" Program provided through the Greater Boston Employment Collaborative.
Jessica had a goal to return to work, but was not sure how to begin the process. As someone with previous retail experience, she was thrilled to hear about the 12-week training program through CVS Health. Over the course of the program, she improved her cashier skills and broadened her customer service experience. Jessica describes herself as friendly but somewhat shy when meeting new people. She wanted a chance to overcome her nerves and increase her confidence when communicating with people she did not know. The program’s soft skills training workshops gave her the interpersonal and networking tools to begin her 40 hour internship at CVS Health in Watertown, MA.
During the internship, Jessica said she enjoyed learning how to face products and check expiration dates on inventory. She said she appreciated the weekly performance reviews with the store manager because it allowed her to identify personal strengths and weaknesses. Jessica’s progress since beginning the training program has been palpable. Her confidence and enthusiasm has increased both at the internship and at Charles Webster Potter Place. The CVS Watertown store managers were impressed with Jessica’s positive attitude and determination to learn, which led to a part-time job at the end of the 12 week training program.
Jessica continues to use the skills she’s developed to improve her interactions with customers and her ability to communicate effectively with coworkers. Jessica is thankful for being part of the training program, looks forward to continuing her journey at CVS, and growing her skills within the company.
Melinda's Time at Marshall's
I started working in a Transitional Employment position at Marshalls in October, 2018. Halloween was coming, and in the break room they had materials for staff members to design little pumpkins with paints! I remember decorating a pumpkin before I went home one day, and there was also homemade egg salad that someone had brought in.
When I first had to punch in at the beginning of my shift, I had trouble. It was hard to figure out where to touch on the screen. Now I understand how to punch in and I do it quickly, without any help. I also know how to punch out at the end of my shift.
One of the first things I learned at Marshalls was how to work in the beauty/women’s health department. I also learned how to arrange the men’s perfumes and colognes upstairs. They bring out new products each time I go there.I went there yesterday just to check my schedule, and there were some new products! I like that.
My main task is to work in the dressing room. I take the clothes from each customer and count the items, and then I give them a ticket with the number on it. If they have more than ten items, then the customer has to leave some outside of the dressing room. They can try up to ten at a time. Once they’re done trying on the first ten, then they can try the others. They can see which ones they like and don’t like.
The customers give me the items they don’t like, and I organize the clothing by size and by department. Normally you might not get to talk with people in the store, but people feel comfortable talking with you in the dressing room – the business people, and then the moms. I like that they have a big fitting room for both men and women. They have huge fitting rooms in case anyone is disabled. If a person is disabled and needs help in the dressing room, then we give their helper a card that says “Just Visiting” when the helper goes into the dressing room.
People like to ask my opinion about clothing. People ask about the sizes, and they ask if they look nice. I say, “Yes!” They have clothes at Marshalls for every type of person. I get to see all the newest fashions, all different kinds of fashions. I like looking at them. As I walk around the store I think about what I might want to get for myself. I haven’t gotten to look at all of the home goods yet, but I want to.
Marshalls is a bright, cheery place.They have music in the background. They keep the music very quiet in the mornings just to warm people up, and then slowly as the morning goes along they make the music louder. The soft music in the morning makes people feel calm and in a good mood.
I think I’m lucky, because on the street people don’t talk to you but at Marshalls they do. I never thought I would talk with businesspeople, doctors, moms, and all kinds of people. You never get bored with all the different kinds of people.
(Melinda's story was kindly shared by our partner, Center Club of Bay Cove Human Services.)