Health Care, Human Resources, and Retail

Retailer invests in pharmacy workforce

July 3, 2014
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Retailer invests in pharmacy training
A student in the Pharmacy Technician program at the West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology works at a Meijer pharmacy. Courtesy Meijer

A retailer is investing in an adult career training program that it hopes will produce a pool of qualified job candidates.

Nonprofit partner

Meijer in Grand Rapids said last week that it is sponsoring the West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology’s Pharmacy Technician program.

The program is one of the nonprofit's vocational training programs and develops technicians who assist pharmacists with various duties, such as filling prescription orders, using software and fulfilling other patient-specific duties, according to the center’s website.

"We are so grateful to Meijer for their sponsorship of our pharmacy technician program,” said Kim Dabbs, executive director, West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology. "It is a testament to their commitment to our local workforce.”

Dabbs added that the center in downtown Grand Rapids “looks forward to working with Meijer to build a culture of opportunity for under and unemployed adults."

Technician demand

Meijer’s educational partnership with the center will allow the retailer to recruit the program’s graduates into its growing pharmacy business.

Meijer’s pharmacy business has been growing and is likely to continue growing due to new patients and the possible impacts of the Affordable Care Act, said Karen Mankowski, vice president of pharmacy operations, Meijer.

"Our goal is to provide the best service to our Meijer pharmacy customers, which truly starts with having the right people in those roles," Mankowski said. “The need for pharmacy technicians is growing tremendously.”

Mankowski said Meijer’s partnership with the center will “enable us to bolster our pharmacy staff, so they can build patient relationships to better manage their health care needs."

Job ready

The center’s advisory committee also contains one team member from Meijer’s pharmacy division, to connect the program with the retail industry and help prepare program graduates for jobs.

"Every experience was a learning experience, and I never felt like I was just there," said Kena Lee, who participated in an externship at Meijer as part of her training. “I like the retail business, because you always having something to do, and I have the feeling that I'm helping someone at the same time."

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