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CVS Health expands apprenticeship program footprint, hiring goals

BY David Salazar

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health is expanding the states participating in its apprenticeship program and set a new apprentice hiring goal. The company said it anticipates hiring 5,000 new apprentices by 2022 as it welcomes Arizona, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania to its program, bringing its total number of statewide programs to 18.

CVS Health said that its registered apprenticeship programs offer participants structured training in such fields as pharmacy care and prescription benefit management while equipping them with a credential to help jump-start their careers.

"Apprenticeships help job creators fill open positions with skilled job seekers," said Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta. “CVS Health's goal to hire thousands more apprentices reflects the strength of the apprenticeship model. The Administration is pleased to see the creation of more opportunities for Americans to learn the skills they need to find family-sustaining jobs.”

Since it first began a registered apprenticeship program for pharmacy technicians in 2005, CVS Health said it has seen more than 4,700 people join in the retail pharmacy, prescription benefit management and retail store management tracks. As part of its apprenticeship efforts, CVS health works with community organizations to ensure a consistent pipeline of apprentices.

"The widening skills gap in the U.S. is a significant business concern, and companies large and small are seeing this workplace strategy that combines on-the-job training with classroom instruction as a viable solution to build a pipeline of future skilled talent," CVS Health executive vice president and chief human resources officer Lisa Bisaccia said. “Meaningful work and a defined career track can provide a source of dignity, pride and identity, which participants are able to gain through our Registered Apprenticeship programs.”

The Dept. of Labor has designated Nov. 13 to 19 National Apprenticeship Week.

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Rite Aid Foundation honors first recipients of inaugural KidChamp award

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. — The Rite Aid Foundation’s KidCents program on Tuesday announced that Bervin Harris of the Renaissance Youth Center in New York and Kirk Hallett of the Joshua Group in Harrisburg, Pa.,have been selected as the first recipients of its first-ever KidChamp award.

“The Rite Aid Foundation created the KidChamp award to recognize individuals from KidCents charities who selflessly give their time and talent to improve lives of the children and teens they serve,” stated Tracy Henderson, director of The Rite Aid Foundation and charitable giving initiatives. “With Bervin and Kirk, helping kids is more than a career, it’s their true calling. They go above and beyond to help the youth they serve reach their full potential, often changing lives in the process and inspiring others to join them in their efforts to create strong and vibrant communities.”

As part of their KidChamp recognition, both Harris and Hallett received a $10,000 donation to their respective organizations to continue their work to improve the lives of the children in their communities, giving them a chance at better lives and brighter futures.

Designed to honor thought leaders in childhood development, each year, the KidChamp award will recognize individuals in communities served by Rite Aid that have made a meaningful difference in the lives of youth by advocating for their health and well-being, championing education and academic growth and creating a safe environment for children and teens to live and grow.

Harris, who has more than 30 years of social development experience in the areas of youth services and community development, founded the Renaissance Youth Center to empower at-risk, inner-city youth in the Bronx, New York, to fully maximize their potential as productive and responsible members of society.

Above is a video that Rite Aid’s Creative Media Services Team put together to honor the Renaissance Youth Center.

RYC brings performance-based music programs, including vocal classes, musical instruments and dancing to more than 3,000 students in 26 public schools and community-based organizations. In addition, the RYC provides youth STEAM education, tutoring and an all-ages sports program. Harris has created many partnerships for RYC, including the NYPD, Carnegie Hall, Department of Probation, NYC Parks Department, Berklee College of Music and many more.

Hallett, who founded the Joshua Group nearly 20 years ago to help at-risk youth in the Allision Hill neighborhood of Harrisburg succeed through education and mentoring, believes that education is the anti-poverty program that truly works. The Joshua Group provides educational support and mentoring resources free of charge to students in the community as a way to overcome the challenges of the pervasive and endless cycle of poverty. Since its inception, the Joshua Group has positively impacted the lives of nearly 1,000 youth and boasts a high school graduation rate of more than 97%. The Joshua Group offers an array of programs including after-school and pre-school programs, summer learning programs and a resource center for GED/Adult Learning.

Since its inception in 2001, The Rite Aid Foundation has awarded more than $32 million to non-profit organizations. Additionally, Rite Aid, through the efforts of its customers, supplier partners and associates, has also raised more than $81 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals across the country since 1994.

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Adobe: Online holiday shopping surpasses expectations

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Between Nov. 1-11, ending on Veteran’s Day, online spend surpassed $1 billion in online spend (compared to only nine of 11 days in 2016). This puts spending on pace to hit a total of $13.9 billion, according to data from Adobe Analytics, part of Adobe Experience Cloud.

Besides tracking 1.8% higher than predicted, November’s online spend to date is at a 19.8% year-over-year (YoY) increase, compared to a 4.8% YoY increase in 2016. This was likely due to last year’s presidential election and steeper product discounts in 2017, according to data.

Specific to Veteran’s Day, total online sales came in at $1.3 billion, 9.1% growth YoY. While mobile traffic and revenue on the rise, desktop sales are slowing. When looking at traffic share by device, smartphones are at 44% (28% YoY), desktop is 46% (-19.1% YoY), and tablets are 10% (15% YoY). When considering share of revenue by device, smartphones encompass 24% (40% YoY), desktop has 64% (-13% YoY), and tablets are 12% (12% YoY).

Meanwhile, conversion rates across all devices saw double digit growth. Desktop hit 4.6% (21.7% YoY), tablet comprised 4.1% (12.3% YoY), and smartphones encompassed 1.8% (16.2% YoY).

Regardless of the channel customers use to place orders, deep discounts are likely motivating shoppers early in the season. The top selling kids toys include Spin Master Hatchimals, PJ Masks branded items, Hasbro Baby Alive, Nintendo’s Switch and Super Mario Odyssey, Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation 4.

Top selling electronics include Apple AirPods and laptops, Samsung tablets, as well as Lenovo, Dell and HP laptops. Revenue from smartphones is on the rise at 24% of purchases, up 40% YoY; while conversion rates for smartphones also saw double digit growth at 1.9% (up 16.2% YoY).

However, these discounts are impacting sales volume. Specifically, sales of TVs are down 10.8% since Oct. 1; computers dropped 5%, and toys are down 9.8%, according to data.

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