Seeing a need in the community and his industry, Seguin business owner Doug Parker is partnering with Seguin ISD and other stakeholders to bring a new education program to town.
The owner of Parker’s City Pharmacy on Wednesday attended a presentation at Seguin High School announcing implementation of the district’s Pathways in Technology Academy, commonly called P-Tech. The four-year program will allow high school students to take courses leading toward graduating with both a diploma and a two-year pharmacy technician college degree.
The program will help fill a dire need in this community and beyond, Parker and his son and fellow-pharmacist Zachary Parker said.
“Pharmacy technicians, they’re hard to come by — good ones,” Zachary said.
“Knowledgeable and personable ones, those personable ones are important,” Doug said. “The other thing really creating the demand is the Texas Board of Pharmacy is passing more rules to free up pharmacists for consultations and drug interactions.”
Pharmacy techs in Texas are able to take new prescriptions, which wasn’t permissible before. So more of a pharmacist’s work can be delegated to techs, making them more valuable and in demand, Doug said.
P-Tech will help fill the need.
Coming to Seguin ISD in fall 2023, the new program will allow students to focus on in-demand careers paying good wages. They will get the opportunity to earn Associate of Applied Science degrees and pharmacy technology certification through Northwest Vista College alongside their high school diplomas.
The college offers its own pharmacy college program that is able to partner with school districts to help students and the community, said Julissa Boerm, director for high school programs at Northwest Vista and Alamo Colleges District.
“We will provide academic support services for the students,” she said. “The site here (at Seguin High School) will also be Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges accredited. Seguin will become an off site for Northwest Vista College through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.”
The association accredits higher-education institutions in southern states and ensures they share common values and practices.
Seguin P-Tech Academy was created to provide local students a helpful path to post-secondary education and employment, according to information provided at Wednesday’s presentation.
It will offer students an introduction to the workforce while still in high school through things like job shadowing and internships, said Cherry Johnston, Seguin High School college pathway specialist.
The program figures to save students about $16,000 each in college fees once they’ve completed the program, she said.
“Most of our students will be students who don’t have any exposure to college,” Johnston said. “This will help break down those barriers.”
Current Seguin eight-grade students will make up the program’s first cohort, she said.
In January, district personnel will begin telling students about the opportunities, Johnston said. The application process will open in February and decisions on which applicants are accepted should be finalized in March, she said.
Students will be notified in April and permitted to participate in a commitment ceremony, Johnston said.
“It is a four-year program,” she said. “Hopefully, we are going to graduate a whole bunch of kids in this program.”
Seguin P-Tech and this initial pharmacy technician component will help change the trajectory of many students’ lives in the district, Superintendent Matthew Gutierrez said. The program also will change the lives of those students’ families, he said.
P-Tech demonstrates the hard work district personnel put in to help its students strive for greatness, Gutierrez said.
“In a district our size, you don’t see what we offer,” he said. “I’ve been in some bigger districts and in some of those, you don’t see what Seguin ISD has to offer.”
The program would be impossible without help, Gutierrez said. He thanked stakeholders for committing to Seguin students, including Parker’s City Pharmacy.
“This is a great area for people who have the desire and the drive to pursue a future for themselves,” Doug Parker said. “It’s just a worthwhile program and I’m so glad I can be a part of it.”