Highbridge Community Life Center (HCLC) is responding to the needs of unemployed Bronx residents by extending a unique, low-cost Pharmacy Tech program that includes an internship and assistance with job placement.
The seven-month program prepares students to take and pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board exam (PTCB), and focuses on oral and intravenous medication training. As the health care industry continues to grow, Highbridge makes valuable training accessible to low-income community residents.
“Our goal is to provide quality training in a field that can give students the financial security that they need in these trying times,” says Highbridge Associate Director, Ronnie Hector. “We offer job placement services and counseling for students, and provide an educational environment that they can always return to.”
Highbridge Community Life Center is a leader in providing free and low-cost, quality education to the Bronx community. The main location at 1438 Ogden Avenue offers courses in citizenship, ESL, basic education and GED and job training. The health careers unit–started over fifteen years ago–at first only offered training to become a Certified Nurse’s Aid (CNA). HCLC has since expanded to Phlebotomy/EKG, and LPN, in addition to the Pharmacy Tech program.
“If a student graduates our CNA program, they can matriculate into the Pharmacy Tech program at no cost,” Hector continues. “We make it a point to develop lasting relationships with every student that comes to Highbridge, and assist as many of them with finding employment as possible.”
In a January BusinessWeek e-zine article about New York State unemployment, journalist Henry Goldman wrote that the unemployment rate in New York City jumped to 10.6 percent in December. “Unemployed residents in the state increased to 868,600 from 832,200,” Goldman cites of a recent state Labor Department report.
Highbridge Pharmacy Tech student Elsie Martinez refuses to be part of that statistic. A 52-year-old mother of three adult sons, Martinez came to Highbridge this January and thrives in the 27-week program.
“The team and staff are so helpful,” Martinez says. “I was referred here by Bronx Works and Section 8 and I’m so happy I came. I wanted a change and at Highbridge there is a general feeling of cooperation. People here want you to succeed.”
During the last three weeks of the course, Martinez and other students will attend a 3-week internship that will give them practical experience in pharmacies and hospitals across New York. The students also receive excellent job placement assistance that ensures a smooth transition into the medical work force.
“I am very excited about the program and opportunity. I will finish and be working by the end of this year,” Martinez says. “I want to start working again and give back. It would be wonderful to work in my community.”