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Unique Stimulus Jobs Program Trains Pharmacy Assistants

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 By Aries KeckContact
May 29, 2009

South Hampton Roads - Money from the federal stimulus package has begun making its way to Virginians in need. In South Hampton Roads, a community action program is using the funds to add 100 people to its job training program.

Edith R. Jones, executive director of the Southeastern Tidewater Opportunity Project (STOP), has added a new training track to her organization's jobs program to train certified pharmaceutical assistants. Since the training is done by working pharmacists, Jones says her graduates have a career advantage.

"We have inroads into all of the major drug stores that are known to be large chains, but additionally there are places like KMart and Wal-Mart and other large wholesalers."

STOP's decision to add pharmaceutical assistant instruction to its ongoing nursing assistant program came about because there was a need for trained workers in the marketplace.

"Companies need someone who is certified nationally to be the go-between; not only to relieve some of the work of the pharmacist, but to fill a gap and even talk with the customer."

In addition to drugstores and pharmacy counters, several military installations across the state also need trained pharmaceutical workers. The opportunity project has trained the unemployed and underemployed for over 44 years. The pharmacist assistant training program begins July 1.

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