It might not seem noteworthy to report that about 10 young people from Children’s Aid’s Next Generation Center (NGC) visited a pharmaceutical company in the Bronx last Thursday and met a worker named Charlie. But what if you found out that Charlie was actually a robot on the line at a Perrigo facility? Now that is something to make note of.
Charlie was but one of the highlights of youths’ tour of the pharmaceutical lab. While the robots mixing vats of ointments and topical medicines were indeed intriguing, NGC members also benefited greatly from the human connections made that afternoon.
Wearing protective gear, including hairnets, booties, gloves, and earplugs, youth took a brief tour of the plant and had the chance to ask questions of various Perrigo employees. The teens peppered workers with questions about educational requirements and job trajectory, and they were delighted to see a significant amount of diversity in the company and to learn that moving up the ranks within Perrigo is not uncommon.
The youth described the trip as an “eye opening experience” and an “inspiring venture.” Through NGC, Children’s Aid promotes workforce readiness for the young adults who seek out our myriad services across the city, and we are more than happy to expose them to opportunities, like employment training programming and visits to local job sites, to help prepare them for the increasingly competitive workforce.
To be sure, the tour and subsequent meeting with the head of Perrigo’s human resources department were an enlightening and positive experience. Perrigo even agreed to attend NGC’s next Employment Mixer, our newest method to expose youth to NYC companies looking to hire. The mixers are organized by the center’s job developer, Wendell Moore, who was also on hand for the Perrigo tour. He said, “It was not only a learning experience on manufacturing, but also a valuable lesson on how to develop a solid plan to pursue a career in this field.”
It would be safe to assume that before last Thursday these young people likely had not given much thought to working in pharmaceuticals. It would also be safe to say that, now, a few youth walked away with a different perspective on the pharmaceutical industry and the role they could one day play in it. Children’s Aid thanks Perrigo and its employees for their time and for opening the eyes of our teens to a new avenue of possibilities for the future.