- Hy-Vee plans to add 2,000 full- and part-time pharmacy technicians to its payroll as the grocer expands its capacity to provide COVID-19 vaccination boosters and other inoculations, according to a press release on Friday.
- The Midwestern supermarket chain has also launched an apprenticeship program to prepare pharmacy technicians to become nationally certified to administer vaccinations on the job.
- Hy-Vee's effort to add staff to its pharmacies comes as the chain plants itself deeper in the healthcare arena and faces off with other employers to attract job applicants.
The announcement by Hy-Vee that it is willing to train pharmacy technicians to give vaccinations while they serve in their positions underscores the shortage of workers supermarket operators have recently been facing.
Hy-Vee said it is offering apprenticeships at no cost and noted that workers enrolled in the program can complete it in as few as eight months while they perform other functions, like processing prescriptions, dispensing medications and working with customers. The retailer, which operates approximately 275 pharmacies across eight states, also stressed in the announcement that it provides an array of benefits to all of its employees, including bonuses, tuition assistance and a 10% discount on groceries.
In a sign of the strain the pandemic has placed on employers looking to hire people to work at pharmacies, a survey conducted in May by the National Community Pharmacists Association found that almost 90% of independent community pharmacists were having trouble finding pharmacy technicians. In addition, nearly 60% of respondents to the survey said they can't find people to work as cash register operators, track inventory or perform other basic roles.
Like other food retailers, Hy-Vee has recently sought to position itself as a front-line resource for customers seeking healthcare services. Hy-Vee's latest hiring announcement follows its decision last December to recruit 1,000 pharmacy technicians as it prepared to administer COVID-19 vaccinations.
In July, the company, which has long emphasized wellness in its operations, hired a clinical professor of family medicine as its first chief medical officer. That move put it in the company of retailers like Albertsons and Dollar General, both of which have also brought on new senior executives to help with the development of health-focused initiatives.