In January 2014, Ashley Thompson was unemployed with a toddler at home. A friend told her about a short-term pharmacy technician training program offered in her community. She was apprehensive about starting a class at her Mineral Area College outreach campus, the Perryville Higher Education Center, because it had been eight years since her high school graduation and no one in her family had gone to college. But she decided to take a leap of faith.
Ashley’s previous work experience was as a receptionist, customer service representative, and in food service. “I was looking for a long term career with growth opportunities,” said Thompson. She started the 12-week training program with fourteen other students that April.
MCCA’s MoHealthWINs grant covered the program training costs. Along with financial assistance from the Southeast Workforce Investment Board, she did not have to worry about money for her textbooks, insurance, or lab fees. “Since I was not working during the training, that supportive service really helped my family’s household finances,” said Thompson.
As part of the hands-on training, each student completed two clinical rotations, one at a retail setting and one at an institutional setting. Ashley was able to stay in Perryville, completing her clinical rotations at Walgreens Pharmacy and Perry County Hospital. “I learned a lot during my rotations, I learned to provide good customer service in a fast pace environment,” she continued, “I became competent, working with IV medicines during my hospital rotation too.”
After successfully completing the rigorous training program, Ashley received a National Career Readiness Certificate, a Mineral Area College Certificate of Completion, a Digital Literacy Certificate, and she passed the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board Exam.
Ashley fondly remembers her instructor, Mrs. Jennifer Majeske. “Mrs. Majeske was very approachable. If I did not understand the calculation homework, I called her on her cell phone, many times late at night. She was always willing to help.” Even a year after graduation, Ashley called Mrs. Majeske for career advice and support.
Ashley is currently working as a pharmacy technician at Walgreens Pharmacy in Perryville.
“This program gave me stability and a new found career interest. I have a long-term health services career with growth opportunities. My next career goal is to complete the training for a senior tech position.”
“As a working mom, this salary is greatly contributing to our household income. I work hard but enjoy most weekends at home with my family. I have Mrs. Majeske and the MoHealthWINs training program to thank for that,” said Thompson.