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Grant-funded, tuition-free online training aims to meet CO’s need for retail pharmacy technicians

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — The Central Oregon Health Council recently awarded a $75,000 community development grant to workability LLC to facilitate an online training program to increase the number of job-ready pharmacy technicians in Central Oregon.

“There are dozens of job openings for pharmacy technicians in Central and Eastern Oregon, and if they continue to remain unfilled, it impedes patients’ access to their life-saving medications,” said Sheila Jordan, founder and Managing Director of workability.

Entitled “Stabilizing the Pharmacy Technician Pipeline in Central Oregon,” the grant allows workability to offer free online coursework, a printed hard copy of the Barron’s study guide, and weekly virtual study sessions with a licensed pharmacist for up to 30 prospective pharmacy technicians across the region.

workability said it is committed to equity and inclusion, and will endeavor to recruit BIAPAC, LGBTQ+, neuro-diverse and disabled job seekers into this grant-funded training program. Reflective of its commitment to rural and underserved communities, workability has focused its recruitment efforts on Madras, Prineville and La Pine, where access to healthcare career training is sparse.

Bilingual applicants are also encouraged to apply, as the need for Spanish-speaking pharmacy technicians continues to grow along with the local Latino participation. Applications are open now. Visit www.workability.one and search for “pharm tech.” If accepted, participants can begin the program as early as next month.

To qualify, applicants must:

– be 18 years old, or close to their 18th birthday

– have a high school diploma, GED or be close to graduation (high school juniors and seniors may apply)

– pass a criminal background check

– acknowledge that COVID-19 vaccines will likely be required by future health care employers

Participants will have six months to complete the 150-hour program, which translates into 10-12 hours of online coursework and studying per week. The online course adheres to the curriculum required for the national certification exam and is recognized by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).

A licensed pharmacist will hold weekly, virtual Q&A sessions. Once participants complete online training, workability will cover the cost of their pharmacy technician license application, provide help with writing a resume, and support their efforts to find a job.

“High-quality training like this can cost several thousands of dollars in tuition, not including books or the license fee,” said Jordan. “This is a tremendous opportunity for anyone who wants to work in healthcare and doesn’t yet have a college degree. Studying to become a pharmacy technician is a quick-start career path, and will help our region to stabilize access to vital pharmacy services that have been inconsistent at best throughout the pandemic.”

Hiring managers for retail pharmacies in Central Oregon can expect the first wave of participants to complete the coursework and be “job ready” by spring.

“We already have eight learners enrolled and actively participating in the program, so we’re confident we can make a positive impact within the next 3-4 months,” said Jordan.

“We’ll be reaching out to retail pharmacies early in the new year,” confirmed Jordan. “Our goal is to make this training-to-work transition as smooth as possible for the new retail pharmacy technicians and the employers smart enough to hire them.”

About workability

workability LLC owns and operates the www.workability.one Internet Job Board and recruitment advertising platform that connects inclusive employers to neurodiverse and disabled job seekers. It also produces diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) education programs for human resources professionals.

About Central Oregon Health Council

The Central Oregon Health Council is a not-for-profit public and private community governance entity. COHC works to improve the health of the region and provides oversight of the Medicaid/OHA population and the region’s Coordinated Care Organization (CCO), PacificSource. COHC was officially created by Senate Bill 204 in 2011 to promote the health of the region’s residents and seeks to achieve the Triple Aim of improving health outcomes, increasing satisfaction with the health system, and reducing costs. Visit www.cohealthcouncil.org for more information.

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