Quinton T. found his passion for being a pharmacy technician through Skills and the Paul Simon Chicago Jobs Corps Center, an education and job training program for young adults.
“Just counting the pills is kind of calming,” Quinton said. “It’s a lot more fun than I expected it to be. There are times when we have to be serious because this is a serious job, but at the same time, everything that goes on beyond the register and in the back of the pharmacy feels really wholesome.”
He has been working at a Walgreens pharmacy for about a year now, and his managers are already talking about promoting him to a senior pharmacy technician. Always striving for self-improvement, he wants to work towards being more independent before taking that next step.
“I learn something new every day and want to get to the point where I don’t have to ask the pharmacist for help unless I know it’s something only the pharmacist can do," Quinton expressed. “Then, I feel I’ll be ready to take on a more serious role.”
While Quinton now has a clear plan for his career goals, it wasn’t always a direct path. In fact, he originally signed up for computer technician courses at Job Corps. Once he started taking classes and realized it wasn’t the career for him, he talked to his peers about their interests and coursework. A light bulb went off when one of his friends shared his experiences in the Pharmacy Technician program. Quinton began shadowing his friend's classes and was drawn to the history of medicine — and he found the math was easy.
Realizing this was a better fit for his career goals, he decided to pursue a career as a pharmacy technician. He worked alongside his classmates to prepare for the Exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ExCPT) so he could earn his certification. This rigorous exam not only covers the laws, regulations, and drug classifications, but also how to handle on-the-job tasks and scenarios.
After Quinton passed the test, his professor recommended he apply to Skills’ Walgreens Career Access Program to help him find a job in the pharmacy industry.
“Once I found out that Skills could help me pay for college and find a job, that seemed like a smart idea that provided a lot of opportunity, so I applied,” Quinton said.
Quinton worked with our Career Access team to discuss his career goals, prior schooling and credentials, and opportunities to have his remaining college fees removed. He participated in video calls set up by Skills with other recently certified pharmacy technicians. During group interviews with Walgreens hiring managers, Quinton shared the type of job opportunities he was looking for and what skills he could bring to their pharmacies. From there, he met the manager of the Walgreens location where he currently works.
“Being in those meetings helped me get a job, build structure, and save more money because I had that opportunity,” Quinton said. “That’s just some of the biggest ways Skills has helped me, while also just being very supportive of helping me get to this point.”
Today, Quinton appreciates the level of detail and organization needed to complete his pharmacy technician tasks. He enjoys pulling expired medications, keeping his workspace clean, and filling prescriptions. He remembers counting coffee beans as part of a simulation during his Job Corps training and how it doesn’t feel much different than working in the pharmacy now.
Looking back on his journey, Quinton said he’s glad he reached out to Skills and got the support of his Career Access mentor. He said he regularly recommends the program to other job seekers.
“If he couldn’t help me find a solution, he’d put me in contact with someone who could,” Quinton said. “That in its own way was helpful because he’s just trying to see me do better and improve. He’s given me the resources to do that and network with other people, and I appreciate that the most.”