HHS Secretary visits Hy-Vee Innovation Center in Grimes, Iowa for Pledge to America’s Workers Month

September 11, 2019 0 By Kody Olson

Good morning. Good morning. Edeker: Thank all of you for being here. I have some special folks to introduce to
you that have been gracious enough to join us, and so each one of us will have comments
in just a second, but I would just like to introduce our guests here at Hy-Vee. So, we have to my left Secretary Azar, Secretary
of Health and Human Services, very important to all of us who champion the pharmacy business
and health care. We have Adviser Trump, who is here to talk
about really the work that we’re doing around growing jobs and training of folks that are
transitioning, and just a great program that the President and the White House has launched. And then we have our great governor; Governor
Reynolds is here. So, we’re proud of the governor. She’s one of the best governors in the United
States, and so we’re always proud to have her be here. And I am Randy Edeker; I’m the chairman, CEO,
and president of Hy-Vee. And this is just a great blessing for them
to choose us to come and highlight some of the good work not that I do, but the good
work that our people are doing every single day, trying to be a great place for our customers
and our patients to come to, and then also make a difference in the communities that
we are in. That’s very important to all of us. And so, with that, I will just take a couple
minutes and talk a little bit about some of the great things that we’re doing here at
Hy-Vee. We have some great programs, and I know I
have it here somewhere. Right here. I’d be lost without my notes. We have some great programs that we’ve launched
after we launched the initiative. So, we committed to the jobs program of retraining
and growing 15,000 positions at Hy-Vee that we are going to work, and I will break those
down just a little bit as we go through. So, Hy-Vee has 260 retail stores; we have
82,000 employees; we have 35,598 employees in the state of Iowa. That’s a little bit about us. We’re an employee- owned company in that all
of the employees of Hy-Vee are the folks that own every single bit of this company. We — to date, of the 15,000 positions that
we committed to, we have trained 2,500 positions. So, let me give you a quick breakdown of that. We have 150 enrollments in our masters of
retail operations program. That’s an internal program that takes someone
who doesn’t really know our industry and trains them about how our industry works, how they
can be a leader within our company and within our industry. We have 150 enrollments in our continuing
education courses; that’s someone who’s working in a department or working in a specific role
that wants to learn more about it and become more of an expert in an area. They can sign up and work in those areas. We have 500 enrollments in Hy-Vee University,
which is a more comprehensive program with classroom-style learning, hands-on, on-the-job
type training to really help develop new skill sets in areas and really enrich that person’s
position in our company. We have 750 interns working for Hy-Vee currently
across all of the company. We have 1,000 participants in our advanced
skills workshop; again, just another area of advancing skills in particular areas. And then we will do 12,500 that will receive
on-the-job training through our continuing education center that we have here throughout
area trainings and so forth around the company. And so, so far, we’re pretty pleased with
all that we’ve done. We will add 1,600 new positions in the next
six months here at Hy-Vee through various different entities. We are building four brand-new e-commerce
fulfillment centers throughout the Midwest. We also are — own Wahlburgers in our eight
states with a partnership with Mark Wahlberg, Mark, Donnie, and Paul, so tune into to A&E. They’re a great —
[laughter] They’re a great partner. So, we’ll be opening a couple Wahlburgers
in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, another one in Minneapolis, down in St. Louis, and so that’s kind of a
little sideline of our business diversification. So, why did we get here? Rural America is really where we grew up. We grew up in southern Iowa and northern Missouri. That’s where the company got its start. Iowa now has unemployment of 2.4 percent,
and that’s caused us to really focus on how we can enrich our offering to people, attract
people here to Iowa, and we’ve focused a lot of our efforts not just on pulling people
away from another business, but helping move people to the Midwest. It’s important for us, and really being the
type of company that folks would want to move from the coast and settle in Iowa, which we
think is a great place to live. We’ve investing back in our infrastructure;
if you go to Chariton, Iowa, where we have our largest distribution facility, we invested
a half a million dollars in rebuilding homes in the community this past year, because there
are just not quality homes in some of the rural towns in Iowa. As we look at the road systems in some of
those communities, we really need to invest there. As a part of our job’s initiative, there are
a few areas I wanted to highlight. One of those is Hy-Vee Homefront. We’ve recruited 2,504 employees who are veterans;
we hired 823 veterans in the last six months. We offer a $5,000 hiring bonus, relocation
bonus, as they come in, and then we commit to training them in the skills and the job
that they need. We’ve received many awards for the work that
we’ve done in helping folks with disabilities find very meaningful employment with Hy-Vee. If you go into a Hy-Vee, you’ll see this is
virtually every single Hy-Vee store. We’ve been recognized by folks: Lincoln Associates,
Iowa Department of the Blind, Goodwill all recognize us. We’re part of the Heart [phonetic sp] Institute’s
initiatives to grow positions across the Midwest for folks that are just fantastic people and
fantastic employees and a great part of the tapestry of what Hy-Vee is. Recently, we opened a Fresh Commissary in
Ankeny. We were able to work with the Des Moines area
regional transit authority to put in a bus line from a part of the city that really needs
employment, and so we started bussing people to our new Fresh Commissary. There are 364 new jobs that we created there. It is one of the most culturally diverse areas
of our company. There are 18 different languages spoken in
that facility. Pretty proud of it. It’s doing great work for all of our retail
stores out there today. We’ve started referral programs at our DCs
[phonetic sp], trying to help our employees help us attract new employees, and we’ve hired
189 people through our referral programs. We’ve added 405 new positions in our two distribution
facilities this last year. It’s also a very, very diverse workplace,
and it’s been very, very good that way. We have started an intern program here in
the city of Des Moines. We worked with the Des Moines area Hy-Vee
stores to launch a program for diverse individuals from the inner city of Des Moines, and we’ve
been able to retain 10 of those folks who are working with us and plan to stay with
Hy-Vee. We’re pretty proud of that. And then two years ago we launched a — in 2017,
the same year we built our technology center, which is what this is, we also launched an
education center here in Des Moines, which is designed to do all sorts of training across
the company and then here localized in specialty areas. And so, investing in training and innovation
has been a key part of what we’ve done. The people that really are responsible for
all of this good work aren’t sitting here with me; they’re sitting back here. They’re the folks that make this all possible. I’m very, very proud of them. And Hy-Vee is about people. It really is — our greatest asset is our people,
and we invest in them as best we can. We want to be the best place to work not just
in the Midwest, but in the United States. So, now I’ll just pass — that’s a little
bit about us. Today is about talking about the programs
that we’ve launched, and so I’m going to turn it over to Secretary Azar. Welcome. Azar: Great. Well, thank you so much. I am so pleased to be here in West Des Moines,
Iowa, to celebrate yet another great day for American workers under President Trump’s leadership. It’s the one-year anniversary of the launch
of the Pledge to America’s Workers. This is an extremely important initiative,
and it’s one that everyone across the Trump administration could not be more proud of. I want to thank Hy-Vee, both CEO Randy Edeker
and all of the great employees and leaders who are here today, for hosting this event
and, more importantly, for creating a culture that invites people in and provides them with
life-changing employment and development opportunities. I also want to thank our friend, Governor
Reynolds, and Ivanka Trump for all of their hard work and attention to this issue. Thanks to the roaring economy under President
Trump, there’s no better time for us to be focused on new education and training opportunities
for America’s workers. Unemployment here in Iowa in an incredibly
low 2.4 percent, but there are still thousands of Iowans who could be engaged in the labor
force but are still left on the sidelines. At HHS, my department, we do a lot of work
to help members of needy families get their first job and achieve self-sufficiency, including
through our Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. Ivanka has recognized the importance of helping
Americans take the next step, expanding their skills, helping them earn what they need to
raise a family, and getting the skills they need to succeed throughout the course of their
career, not just when they start their career. The Trump administration strongly believes
in the dignity of the American worker. Supporting workers means everything from getting
that first job to up-skilling, providing childcare and parental leave, and other needs, all of
which are focuses for the administration’s cross-agency Council on Economy Mobility. Work is valuable not only for the sake of
self-sufficiency, but also for one’s health. Research has demonstrated that people’s mental
and physical health improve when they find work. We want those kinds of benefits for everyone,
young and old, American men and women, whatever your level of formal education. That includes Americans with disabilities,
which is why our Administration for Community Living is leading a multiagency task force
for the employment of people with disabilities. I was inspired to hear about how Hy-Vee employs
the first hearing-impaired licensed pharmacist in the United States. That’s exactly the type of culture we’re working
to foster. Just last night, my good friend, Senator Chuck
Grassley of Iowa, commended to me the incredible commitment of Hy-Vee to the hiring of Americans
with disabilities in this great workplace. So, thank you all again for what each of you
are doing to support the American worker and to keep us all trained, educated, and fulfilled
in our work life environment. So, thank you so much. Randy? Edeker: Thank you. Thank you, Secretary Azar. The Secretary has been a great friend to pharmacy,
and I wanted to recognize that work, and he’s championed the cause of pharmacy. We really appreciate all the work that you’ve
done there. And next, another special guest I want to
introduce and say a few words. Adviser Trump is here, who’s championing this
program, and so we had just a wonderful talk. And so, let’s hear from her. Trump: Thank you, Randy, and thank you for
the very warm welcome to Iowa, Governor Reynolds. And I have been in this state talking about
this issue numerous times; I’ve visited three times in the last couple of years, two of
which the visits have really been focused on the issue of workforce development and
inclusive growth. Iowa has an unbelievable story. Unemployment rates across every demographic,
much like the rest of the country, are at record lows. You have one of the lowest unemployment rates
in the whole country, which is amazing. Poverty is down, workforce participation is
up, and wages are rising. So, this is a great climate, a great opportunity,
but it brings to bear a unique challenge, which is the fact that people need skilled
workers. And so, oftentimes it’s easy to say, “Well,
you know, there just aren’t workers. We have to bring workers in from other states,”
but there are so many great workers who are in the sidelines of our economy who haven’t
been afford the chance. And one of the reasons we created this Pledge
to America’s Workers is to celebrate the initiatives that are pulling people into our workforce. Let me just share with you a statistic that
I think resonates so strongly with me and is something that I’m so proud of that our
policies could create an environment that would enable the fact that in the last quarter,
of all the new jobs secured in America, 74 percent of those new jobs went to people who
were outside of the formal economy, not even on unemployment. They were literally on the margins; they were
on the sidelines, and they came into the workforce because wages are up, because there’s opportunity,
because companies such as Hy-Vee are getting creative in their hiring and are reaching
to populations that had been marginalized and providing them pathways to achieving career
success, but are also investing in their existing workforce and up-skilling and retraining. So, when we launched this Pledge to America’s
Workers we had ambitious goals in terms of the type of investment from the private sector
that we would catalyze, and I’m very proud to say that through a lot of work and a lot
of effort, a lot of travel — I’ve toured roughly half the country in support of this
initiative — we are approaching 10 million new pledges to skill and retrain workers,
secured from over 300 private-sector companies. So, it is very, very exciting. We will be announcing — I have a feeling
that we’ll meet that mark next week at the one-year anniversary. So, it’s really terrific, and I really want
to commend the governor, who has been such a forceful champion of workforce development
and providing these multiple pathways to all Americans who want to work, whether they’re
the workforce and their job is at risk of being disrupted by technology, by automation,
by the rapid pace of change. We need to be thinking about and ensuring
that there are opportunities for them to learn a new trade or acquire a new skill — or the
next generation of American workers through apprenticeship opportunities, on-the-job training
such as some of the ones you’ve detailed. You mentioned what Hy-Vee is doing to help
disabled Americans secure employment, and I’m very proud to say that today in America
the rate of unemployment for disabled Americans is at the lowest level in the history of our
country. So, we are creating growth that benefits all. We are just at the beginning of that, and
it’s exciting to be out here in Iowa in West Des Moines to really see it on a personal
level. So, I thank everyone seated around the table. I’ve read a lot about your stories, and I
look forward to learning more in person about the work that you’re doing and the potential
you see in programs like this; also, programs like the one we’ve set up at the White House
that the governor is an adviser to, thinking holistically about workforce development and
the policies that can help the American worker, whether it’s paid family leave — the President
called for the first-ever national plan and has prioritized it in every budget — or childcare. This administration fought for and secured
the largest-ever increase in the block grants for childcare that go to the states. So, it was raised from $3.8 to $5.3 billion
to help parents who are struggling be able to have access to safe and high-quality care. So, we’re very proud of the work we’re doing;
we’re really at the beginning of it, but I want to thank the governor for being so helpful
to us and really advising the policies that we’re rolling out in such a helpful way. So, thank you, Governor. Reynolds: Thank you, I appreciate it. Thank you. Edeker: Well, Adviser Trump, we’re like to
thank you, one, for picking Hy-Vee and coming here — it’s always fun to showcase our great
people — but for all the work that you’re doing in championing this cause. And so —
Trump: Thank you. Edeker: — I think it’s really making a difference
for people everywhere. So, thank you. Trump: And, Randy, of the close to 10 million
commitments, 15,000 of them were secured from Hy-Vee, so I thank you for that. And as importantly, we are seeing the fulfillment
of the commitment now that we’re approaching the one-year mark of the pledge. So, of that 15,000, we — Hy-Vee has actually
reskilled or provided things such as Randy detailed: new career opportunities, apprenticeship
opportunities, tuition reimbursement for close to 2,500 employees. So, really, really great work, and we look
forward to seeing a lot more of that. Edeker: Thank you very much. And next, our great governor. I turn it over for some comments from Governor
Reynolds. Reynolds: Well, thank you, Randy, and thank
you for hosting us. I really appreciate it a lot. It is great to be in this new facility. This is the first time that I’ve had the opportunity
to walk through. I had two of my team members here yesterday,
and I don’t know, I was thinking there I was about to lose them for a few moments. [laughter]
They were so impressed with what — the environment and the culture and just what you’re doing
to really bring people — keep young people in the state of Iowa and really drive that
culture of innovation and technology and emerging markets and what we need to do to remain competitive. I want to welcome Ivanka back to the state
of Iowa. As she said, she has been here multiple times,
and not only to Iowa, but I am seeing this type of engagement in states all across this
country, and it is so inspiring as a governor of a state to have that type of collaboration
with the administration, really working together to see how we can meet the needs of individual
states, because we’re all a little bit different, but how collectively we can brand what we’re
trying to do nationally to continue to make our states and this country innovative, competitive,
and leading. Hy-Vee is one of the — is the largest employer
in this state of Iowa outside of government. So, woo-hoo. We love that. And I did write down how many new jobs you’re
planning on bringing on, so, you know, we’re going to market — we’re going to track that
also. I was so appreciative a year ago when they
signed the pledge and committed to 15,000 jobs. We continue to recruit. I was at Kinze Manufacturing yesterday signing
another pledge, so we’re going to continue to work with our businesses and bring new
companies on, and as they meet the goal, hopefully encourage them to add larger numbers to what
they originally committed. I think Iowa right now is about at 52,000,
so there are initiatives going on all over the state that I’m not sure we’ve captured,
so I want to get out there and make sure that I’m accounting for all the great things that
are happening. You’ve heard about our growing and diverse
economy, our low unemployment, second-lowest cost of doing business. By the way, the number-one state in the country
for jobs is not New York and California, it is Iowa, so we want to be sure and market
that. If you’ve not gone to our new marketing campaign,
“This is Iowa,” please go to ThisIsIowa.com and just see the amenities and the affordable
cost of living and the great things that we have to offer in the state of Iowa. It continues to be — workforce continues
to be a top priority. It’s one of our biggest challenges in the
state to really seeing the economy grow at the capacity that we have, but it’s also one
of the biggest opportunities that we can provide Iowans and for new people coming to this state. Right now, if you go onto the Iowa Workforce
Development website, we have 82,000 jobs open in the state of Iowa today, and that’s across
the sector. So, again, a ton of opportunity. And, you know, we’re really approaching it
from a multifaceted approach. And I’ll talk fast, because I want to hear
the stories, but I just want to give you a flavor of what we’re doing in the state of
Iowa, working with the administration and how closely they tie. We have the Future-Ready Iowa initiative that
really is working to upskill and skill students and workers across the state for the high-demand
cutting-edge careers that exist here in Iowa. It’s a public-private partnership; we put
state dollars into it. We’ll be holding — employers will be leading
summits across the state. We’ve got 25 summits that will be held in
communities all across the state of Iowa talking about the opportunities and how we can coordinate
the efforts with what the White House is doing, and the administration. Work-based learning opportunities; we just
launched a clearinghouse that we had over 107 employers go online and post opportunities
for educators across the state to help to provide work-based learning opportunities
for students in our classrooms to help them get a feel of the great opportunities that
exist here in Iowa, and it’s really important for some of our rural communities that might
not have the access to work-based learning opportunities. And we want every student to be able to experience
that and find the passion that they — the passion for a career that they have and, again,
kind of the multiple pathways that exist. Our registered apprenticeship programs; we
started a new program with dual enrollment with our community colleges. We’re number-one in the country for number
of high-school students taking community college classes. We extended that to the summer this year because
we were losing a lot of kids, and that kept them engaged and got them to the place where
they could complete, and we have 764 students that are participating in that. Registered apprenticeship programs are on
the rise; we saw a 19 percent increase from last fiscal year to this fiscal year. Second chances retraining; Hy-Vee has been
a big, big, big proponent of that also. And then Home-Based Iowa is another initiative
that we’re working on, and mental health is also a component of what we’re doing, because
if Iowans aren’t healthy they can’t earn, they can’t learn, and they can’t have the
quality of life that they deserve, so that also, I think, is a strong component of everything
that we’re doing when we talk about, you know, helping people obtain the opportunities that
are available. So, I just want to say everything that I just
mentioned is a public-private partnership. It’s not government doing it alone, it’s not
the private sector doing it alone. It is all of us working together to find how
we can coordinate and provide opportunities for Iowans and Americans across this country. So, just a big, big thanks, Randy, to all
that Hy-Vee is doing. You really are leading the way. Just your list that you went over with your
opening remarks is incredible. So, thank you. I look forward to the discussion. And I just want to thank Ivanka, too. I do have the opportunity to serve on the
President’s Workforce Advisory Board, and she has just been a tireless advocate for
ensuring that all Americans really not only get a job, but they have a career that really
provides them that quality of life that they deserve, and it’s been really an honor to
work with you, and I love your drive and your passion. So, thank you. Trump: [laughs] Thank you. And I think what we just heard about just
a sample of the initiatives that you’ve rolled out here in Iowa is exactly why it’s so important
to leave D.C. and get out in the country, because states really are the laboratory of
innovation. So, we love to come out to see what’s happening,
to learn best practices — I can’t wait to hear from each of you — and then we take
that back, and it informs what we’re doing back in D.C. And I think a great example of that — because
you mentioned second-chance hiring, which we have been working very, very hard at the
White House to prioritize and promote. The President signed into law the First Step
Act, really historic criminal justice and prison reform, and Senator Grassley of the
great state of Iowa was a formidable proponent of this legislation, so he fought very hard
for many years. And we were excited to help realize legislation
that he was so pivotal in driving, and then help support businesses who are looking to
give those returning citizens an opportunity to earn a good living, create safer communities,
knowing that the recidivism rate drops exponentially if somebody has the ability and has secured
a job. So, we’re very, very excited about that, because
we think we have an opportunity to bring the unemployment rate for those who are formerly
incarcerated from where it is right now, which is the mid-30s, to single digits. So, that is the goal, and the federal government
will be supporting all the great efforts happening on a state level to accomplish that. So, thank you so much. Edeker: Okay, well, great. So, now — are you ready for this? [laughter]
A typical Friday for all of us, right? [laughter]
So, we have some great people here that really get it done every day out in our stores, out
with our people, and so we wanted to highlight these folks, because they’re just — they’re
typical of what you see in the 82,000. Okay? And so, some great people. We’re going to go one by one and just hear
just a little bit about your story. Elena, you’re going to be first. So, Elena Sapp. She is a senior recruiting specialist. From what I understand, you joined the company
because of your daughter’s experience at one of our stores. So, why don’t you tell us just a little bit
about that, and then a little bit about your experience here at Hy-Vee? Sapp: Thank you, Randy. So, my name is Elena Sapp, and I am the senior
recruiter. It’s an interesting story. So, my daughter was working at a store as
she was in college, and I was pursuing a career change. And so, she was like, “Mom, come on over to
Hy-Vee,” and I was like, “I shop at Hy-Vee. I don’t know if I want to work at Hy-Vee [laughs].” And she was like, “Mom, you’re going to love
it.” She goes, “It’s great. The atmosphere is wonderful. You’re going to love all of the people, and
it’s right where you need to be.” And so, they were opening up a new store in
the city that I lived in, and I went and applied. I took a position as an assistant manager
and then continued to grow throughout the company. Just so many opportunities that have been
available, and I’ve taken every one of them and have been able to grow and use my talent
that I have to help others, which is what I love about it. You know, being able to use the fundamentals
that we take pride in: being friendly and helpful and honest. I can take those and, you know, go out to
the communities and talk to everybody. When I was at the store level, I decided that
I wanted to branch out and see what else was available, and when the recruiter position
became open at the corporate office, I applied. I got that position; I was so excited. And then from there I’ve just continued to
grow, and most recently I took on the senior role. Edeker: That’s awesome. So, recruiting. When you have eight states in the Midwest
whose unemployment rates is — all eight states lower than the national average, right? Sapp: [affirmative]
Edeker: So, we need great folks like Elena to be creative and help us find the great
folks who run our stores. We focus on service, and we need the right
people to come in, and Elena has done a great job helping us with that. Next, Angie Danielson. She’s our pharmacy supervisor in the southeast. So, you get to work with lots of our interns
that come in, and they’re kind of exploring Hy-Vee, trying on the pharmacy area. Why don’t you tell me just a little bit about
that and how you help them achieve their goals? Danielson: Thank you, Randy. Working with the interns is absolutely phenomenal. Same goes for our pharmacy staff, just teaching
and training. It’s so fun when you’re in school. You’re going to conquer the world, and you
have lots of things that you want to achieve, and that’s what we’re here for, to help those
and achieve those goals. So, it’s absolutely wonderful, and then encouraging
them to work for a great company. We have a unique system where we can work
with dieticians; we have health markets; we have Healthy You Mobiles; we have clinics
where we can work with physicians and different medical staff. So, we have a very unique environment that
encourages exactly what we learn in school and what we go through, and so it’s very exciting
to encourage that growth and really embrace that environment. So, very lucky, very blessed. Edeker: Great. So, Angie, one of the things I mentioned earlier
is we have nine mobile health units that go out and do biometric screening and do immunizations
out in rural areas and also at other manufacturers and so forth, so that’s kind of a great part
that Angie gets to help with. And so, next, John Lewis [phonetic sp]. So, John just joined the company not too long
ago. As we were looking at who should come — I
mention John because he comes to our store director’s meetings. Our store directors get together every two
weeks. John is studying to be a store director with
us. And he usually sits right here when I’m talking. And I see him smiling at me. And so, I said, hey, what about John from
Liberty. And so, John is here. Tell us a little bit about the transition
of joining of Hy-Vee, and why you came, what you hope to achieve here, and what your goals
are? John: Well, being a part of the master’s Retail
Operations Program. Hy-Vee is just doing something that nobody
else is really doing. The opportunity to have the autonomy. A lot of retailers just don’t have that. So, you go in and you, you have effect on
pricing, you have effect on buying. And even the hiring process in the community. So, being able to engage and involve like
that has been amazing. And it’s a big difference from some of the
competitors. Edeker: So, John is an individual that after
the meeting one day, and this is why I remember him always. He came to me, don’t change anything until
I get to be a store director. Okay. [laughter]
Edeker: So, I’ve committed. Nothing is going to change until John is in
there, so. Thank you for that. Trump: Are you inspiring others, John? To take a similar course, as you’re taking
right now, to be a store director. John: I am. Actually, you know, with being a former college
athlete, you know, you kind of get that mindset of seeing a coach work different avenues in
his — with his coaches, with his players. So, I’ve been trying to take that same mindset
in the stores, with our men and women, to develop them to be in that same position. Trump: So, do other people also go to the
manager’s meetings? Or is this pretty unique? Are you one of the only people in the training
course who — Edeker: Yeah, so all of our store directors
come in about every two weeks. Since, we’re autonomous, they actually come
in and vote. They’re our stockholders. Trump: That’s great. Edeker: So, they come in and we put scenarios
out in front of them. We keep everybody together in a system with
82,000 people. And Courtney’s a store director now, or actually
just got promoted. Courtney: Yep. Edeker: So, was a store director. But they have — they can make lots and lots
of decisions at the store level. So, kind of keep everybody organized in that
room every — a couple of times a month. We’ve invited our managers, which are really
the second people in the stores to come in. And so, they hear what’s going on. And it starts to train them for the future,
what will I do? You know, what decision would I make if I
were in Courtney’s role right now? And so, that’s what John’s been attending. So, yeah, each store brings their assistant
with them to every meeting. So, they can hear what’s going on, so. John: And so, one of the things that
I do is, I bring that information back to the store. And try to share it and, you know, get it
down to the — everybody in the store. Edeker: That’s great. Awesome. So, Marcus Zavala is a warehouse supervisor
at our Hy-Vee Distribution Facility. And I would tell you, without bright people
like Marcus, we couldn’t run our DCs today. Marcus is bilingual. He’s helped us really recruit a lot of the
great people who work for DC now in Chariton. So, why don’t you tell us just little bit
about the workforce that you work with in the Chariton DC, and what your role is, and
how you’ve helped us? Zavala: Well, thank you. I’m happy to be here. I’m come from the Cherokee Distribution Center. Edeker: Okay. Zavala: It’s very unique because that’s pretty
much all I’ve done in my career, which started with Hy-Vee. I’ve been doing this for eight years, started
doing the hard work that nobody wants to do. But it’s always fun, moving my way up with
all the great opportunities that I’ve had with Hy-Vee. And they’re endless. I’m very happy and thrilled to say that. I’m a perfect example of moving up. I started as a Warehouse Generalist One, moved
my way up to Inventory Specialist. I did that for a year, which I loved. I loved doing inventory. There was always a challenge, something new. I also help translating with meetings, meetings
that we had monthly for Employee of the Quarter. And, as well as other employees, that don’t
have the ability to speak the language as well as others. And it always makes me happy that I’m able
to help others to succeed. Also, after being in inventory, I got a promotion
of being Assistant department manager, which my goal was to being a full department manager. And just last year, I was surprised with the
news that I was promoted to being a department manager. My goal. My dream. And, you know, with all the great opportunities,
and just thank all those guys at the warehouse. I mean, especially right now, during the summer,
it’s hard work. It is not easy. But for them to know that there’s always more. There’s opportunities to keep growing with
this company, so. Edeker: That’s awesome, Marcus, good job. Trump: That’s really terrific, Marcus. And I would just, if I can ask a quick question? Edeker: Yeah. Trump: What would you say of all the different
training programs as you climb the ladder in your career? What would you say was the sort of common
trait in terms of them being successful? In terms of delivering and enabling somebody
too, to take that next step? Zavala: I’d say, just the people you work
with, they don’t take it as a job. It’s more of a — we say it all the time,
as a family or second family. They want you to succeed. They don’t want you just going there and doing
it for a couple hours, couple weeks, months. They want to see you succeed. They want to see you grow. And they’re so into it that they want to see
you learn, learn the basics, learn everything for you to be successful in the future. Trump: So, most of the people that you graduated
out of the different programs with were successful in terms of taking that next step? Zavala: Yes. Yes. Trump: That’s great. Zavala: Most of them have moved up in the
ladder. And, it’s great, it’s great. Trump: That’s awesome. Edeker: That’s awesome. Thank you. So, next, Courtney Brooks, right over here. So, Courtney was a store director, moved up
through all the different chairs in the company, became store director at one of our most profitable,
highest volume stores. And last week, she was promoted to District
Vice President. And so, she’s going to be relocating to Omaha,
Nebraska and will have the entire state of Nebraska, Omaha, and Lincoln, and all the
stores there underneath her. So, Courtney, why don’t you tell us just a
little bit about your career path and how you got here today? Brooks: Sure, thank you, Randy. Welcome. So, my career path started after I graduated
college. I then moved to Sioux Falls, South Dakota
and became the Human Resource Manager for that store. And throughout college, I though I’m not going
to work in retail, that’s not for me. And quickly realized, this is for me and I
love it. It’s people. It’s all kinds of people. And then, came to find out that it’s not just
HR I want. I want more. And so, I talked to my store director at the
time, and said, what more can I do with Hy-Vee? What are the avenues that I can get to? And so, I was quickly moved into an Assistant
Manager role. And was able to do that. And then went through and did the Manager
of Opportunities. So, Operations, Perishables, and General Merchandise. And then, became a Store Director. And now, a District Vice President of the
Western Region. But the way I was able to get there was through
the opportunities with Hy-Vee. I was able to do the Hy-Vee University Program,
which is department work, on-the-job training such as Randy said, classroom settings, and
then, I was also able to do the masters of Retail Operation Program. And that’s obviously a little bit more in
depth. That’s gearing you up to run your own store,
and to take on Hy-Vee, if you will. And so that program was fantastic because
you learn much more in depth of the store director role. And without that training, I wouldn’t be where
I am. And I wouldn’t have had the opportunities
that I am. And actually, I was able to meet my husband
while working for Hy-Vee, and he also works for Hy-Vee. So, we’re now a whole Hy-Vee family. Trump: Full Service. Brooks: Yes, this is a full-service Hy-Vee
family. My kids are — this is my store. I mean, and they run the store type of thing. But, yes, it’s been fantastic. And he travels. And Hy-Vee’s been wonderful with accommodating
for my husband as well, because obviously with my moves and what I wanted to do, he
had to sacrifice as well. And it wasn’t a sacrifice. It became a family and I was able to do that,
and he was able to do that. And now, I have a — one of my — my 7-year-old
would like to be a Hy-Vee barista when she turns 16. So, I mean, she wants to be — she likes coffee,
I guess. Edeker: We did have the Barista of the Year,
last year. Brooks: Just saying, right. Edeker: I’m just saying. So, that’s good. Great, Courtney. So —
Reynolds: Can I ask a quick question? Edeker: Sure. Reynolds: So, when you’re going through the
Hy-Vee University Program, and the different programs you talked about, do you do that
while you’re working or is that outside the workday? Or how are those — how do you do those? Brooks: While you’re working. Reynolds: Yeah. Brooks: So, it’s a program that’s set up. And you are strictly in that program. Reynolds: Okay. Reynolds: Some of the training is done at
your store, some of it’s done at other stores. And then there’s training at our training
center. It’s really all over. It’s very diverse, and includes a lot of facets
of Hy-Vee, so. Reynolds: Okay.
Trump: We were talking before we came out here about apprenticeship opportunities and
the administration’s commitment to growing them. But this earn while you learn model has worked
so well in other countries around the world. And it’s an area, we’re really prioritizing
because oftentimes, people don’t have the ability to get the training they need in the
after-hours. So, it’s great to have that integrated into
the work. And allow people to earn a living while getting
the training they need to take those next steps. Brooks: And now, at the store I’m currently
at, I have a student in Hy-Vee University and in the MRO student, masters of Retail
Student. So, it’s fun to have that full circle and
be able to provide that training to them. So, they can move forward in Hy-Vee because
I did do that. And so, I’m very passionate about that, so. Edeker: So, great. Along the line of apprenticeships, within
a 95,000 square foot retail store with, you know, 12 fresh food service departments and
charcuterie and all those things, there’s specialties that develop. And so, Bryan Hoppy, here is one of our wine
and spirts supervisors. And he is a certified cicerone. And so, that’s something that we help our
employees achieve. Those that want to. And so, I let him just explain a little bit
about that. Hoppy: Thank you, Randy. So, a certified cicerone, is essentially much
like a wine sommelier. So, but, with beer instead. So, part of the process, is basically learning
the history, the ingredients, the care of, the retail aspects of it, all the different
flavors, all the different aspects of beer as a whole. It was quite an arduous process. There is an initial test, a kind of introductory,
we will say, online test. And the second test for the certified cicerone,
when people ask me about it, I tell them it’s harder than my hardest college final ever. It’s a big, long process. There’s several, 140 short answer questions,
essays, and applied knowledge as well. And then, a tasting component. So, it was quite a process. The great thing after achieving that, I was
able to go back to the store and speak more thoughtfully to our customers, as well as
our employees. One of the great things about Hy-Vee, right
now, we’ve started a beer class. So, I had the opportunity, it was about a
month ago, we had our initial classes. Myself and one of my coworkers were able to
have, I think it was roughly 50 folks in and kind of explain to them more in depth. So, they can take that knowledge back to store
and help, not only their customers, but help their employees gain that knowledge, that
we had a chance to share with them. Trump: Next time I come back to Iowa, the
governor and I are going to come take your class. Reynolds: That’s good. Hopper: Deal. Edeker: That’s good. Trump: That’s awesome. Edeker: There are so many special areas in
the store today. Trump: Yeah. Edeker: So, you have to have expertise. You have to be able to, you know, have the
knowledge. And so, there are many programs that we support
and actually pay for, for folks to work on continued education. Pharmacy tech program is one of those. Someone like John would actually, in most
stores, would go through the tech program to be able to help in the pharmacy, have knowledge
of the pharmacy also. So, that’s something that, that we do. I don’t know if you’re a certified tech or
not. Brooks: I am. Edeker: Which I figured you were. So, that’s something that we do. And then, with the sommelier program, the
cicerone program, and then specialty imported cheeses. You know, there’s a formal training program
there. So, we do a lot of that. So, we’re about out of time, but I just wanted
to see if there’s any questions for these folks from anyone else. If you have any comments or questions that
you might have. Trump: Well, first of all, thank you. Your stories were amazing and very much embodied
the type of work we’re so passionate about. And so, it’s great to see the diversity of
experience that you all acquired through one store, through Hy-Vee. So, everything from pharmaceutical to beer. So, it’s really, it’s impressive to hear about
your experience and individual journeys. I guess for me, the thing that I would be
most interested in, if there is an experience you’ve had or feedback for us that could help
us be more successful in our goal, which is really very simple. It’s more and better jobs for American workers. I mean, that’s what this is all about, more
opportunities, more pathways, more secure futures. So, if there is anything you want to share
with me, with us, as we head back to Washington, it would be great to hear. Edeker: Anyone? Brooks: I think with childcare, being a mother
of three. Childcare is very, very important. And having the outlets to take your children
to daycare, so that mom and dad can both have a job and provide for the family. That’s one thing that I know is very difficult
as, you know, as you go into a move is my 7-year-old is starting second grade, and it’s
where are we going to have before-and-after school care? Where are we going to take the other two,
to school? You know, so, it’s just more childcare outlets,
but, yes. Trump: And creating affordability for the
parents, so. Brooks: Affordable childcare, yes. Trump: One of the things I mentioned, the
Childcare and Development Block Grants. We also created as part of tax reform, a new
dependent care credit. Brooks: Right. Trump: Because a lot of people not only are
taking care of children, but also adult dependents and that’s taxing from a time perspective
and of course, from a financial perspective. We also doubled the Child Tax Credit and expanded
refundability. Brooks: Yes, you did, I know. Thank you. Trump: And made it much more accessible to
many more hard-working Americans. So, that is the beginning. Those are big things, but it really is the tip
of what we’re planning to do on this run. And we recognize it as an enormous obstacle
for working families, particularly when there is a single parent at home. So, thank you, Courtney, for elevating that. Reynolds: And that’s something again that
we’re trying to partner with the administration as well. There’s more that we can do from a state perspective. It’s what I’m focused on right now. I hope we get to talk about some initiatives
from the state perspective. Again, kind of being that laboratory working
in conjunction with what they’re doing at the administrative level. So, I really appreciate that, but it is workforce,
housing, and daycare. I mean, I hear it every day, all day long. Azar: Could you talk a little about the role
of the Hy-Vee pharmacist in providing healthcare, especially in rural parts of the Midwest that
Hy-Vee serves. Reynolds: Yeah, I was just going to say, I
think one of really cool parts of this company is just the empowerment in your job. And the teaching and training and reskilling
that goes into it. Anywhere from our technicians to our pharmacists,
to our pharmacy managers. And that involves other people in our store,
as well. Our directors, managers of — they have involvement
in the store as well in the pharmacy. And so, that’s really empowering. The more you can empower an individual and
growth is very much encouraged in this company. And so, we feel very thankful for that. As far as the rural areas, having the “Healthy
You” mobiles, being able to travel and keep people healthy. We do various events with our dieticians. Farmer’s markets-type of activities. So, not only from the grocery industry side
but also from the healthcare side. So, lots of great opportunities. Edeker: In many of our rural areas, our pharmacies,
they are healthcare for those towns. And so, you will have, you know, we kind of
serve dual purposes sometimes. Frankly, because you’ll have a person standing
at the counter with a particular ailment or they need help right away. And there’s many times where we’re the one
that calls the, you know, calls 911. Because they don’t where else to go and so,
our pharmacists really are exceptional. They take on a huge role. You know, we always say, at any CVS that I’m
a part of, that, you know pharmacy is the face of neighborhood healthcare. And it really, truly is. I mean, they’re the most successful healthcare
professional in the entire system. And so, I’m proud of all our folks. Azar: Yeah, well that’s why it’s been such
a huge priority for President Trump to empower America’s pharmacists. Edeker: Right. Azar: Because you are the face of healthcare
to so many Americans. For most Americans, you’re the person they’re
going to most on any aspect of healthcare delivery. So, we want to empower you and make sure that
you have a central role there in the healthcare system. Female Speaker: Absolutely. Brooks: I think with Hy-Vee too. It’s not just about being a pharmacist. It’s about bringing them into your family. And so, it’s that relationship and that facial
recognition and, you know, being together as family, so. Edeker: So, with that, we have a stop that
we need to hit. So, I just want to thank Governor Reynolds,
for you for being here. Reynolds: Oh, absolutely. Edeker: It was nice to give her the tour. There’s a 50/50 chance, she’s going to be
joining Hy-Vee. [laughter] Reynolds: I started there by the way. So, talk about up-skilling. I’m telling you; I was a Hy-Vee checker. So, there we go. Trump: How cool is that? Edeker: The only concern —
Trump: Multiple pathways. Reynolds: Multiple pathways. Trump: Even into politics. Reynolds: That’s right. That’s right. Edeker: The only concern is that she is going
to want my job. So, that’s — and Adviser Trump, thank you
so much for coming and being here. Reynolds: Yes, thank you so much. Edeker: You know, the proudest moment for
me is that you get to see these guys. Trump: Yeah. Edeker: They’re great people. And so, thanks for being here. Secretary Azar, thank you also. We’re glad that you were here today. It’s nice just to talk about the state of
healthcare with you. And you’re doing a great job. And we appreciate it very much. So, everyone here, again thank you for being
here. And thanks for being a part of this. And if there’s any questions or answers we
can get any of you, please don’t hesitate to get to our folks in the back. So, thank you very much for being here. And for you six, you did a great job. [applause]
V-O: Produced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at taxpayer expense.