HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Members from Holyoke Community College, Western New England University, Baystate Health, Holyoke Medical Center, and the Commonwealth Corporation will celebrate the success of their pharmacy technician training program partnership on Friday.

HCC and Baystate Health have been collaborating since Spring 2021 to organize a customized pharmacy technician training program for current workers employed at local medical facilities. This program was funded by a Digital Innovation for Lifelong Learning grant that HCC received from the Boston-based Commonwealth Corporation.

Twenty people employed in various other capacities at Baystate Health and Holyoke Medical Center have finished the pharmacy technician program. This program is five-months long, and it includes self-paced academic coursework, along with hands-on training in the mock pharmacy and non-sterile and sterile processing labs at Western New England University.

“The students previously did not have a background in the pharmacy field, but instead were working for the hospitals in other areas such as transportation, housekeeping and dining services,” said Sharon Grundel, HCC’s assistant healthcare project coordinator. “While working full time, they spent an additional 15 hours a week over five months training to become pharmacy technicians. They really endured.”

According to Grundel, 10 out of the 20 students who finished the program have obtained their national certifications as pharmacy technicians. This boosts starting wages in the field 11% higher, not including the additional $4,000 retention bonuses to elevate their earnings.

Representatives will meet at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute from 11:00a.m. to 1:00p.m. There will be remarks and student recognitions scheduled from 11:30a.m. to 12:15p.m., followed by a lunch prepared by students in the Culinary Arts program at HCC.