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DHMC Pharma Tech v. DC Custodian

In an article headlined, Long Odds for Hospital Jobs: Hundreds Seek D-H Training Slots, the Valley News described the competition and arduous training required to secure a position as a pharmacy technician or medical assistant at DHMC. The piece also details the wages paid for these jobs:

… as 350 job seekers flocked to a West Lebanon hotel Monday, formidable obstacles lay between them and 30 entry-level pharmacy technician or medical assistant jobs at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

The biggest challenge would not start until after Labor Day: a grueling training course, nine or 10 weeks without pay, 40 hours in class each week followed by 28 or more hours of homework. Then, a year-long apprenticeship.

But hopefuls faced long odds to even get into the class. More than 700 Twin-Staters signed up for the jobs. Prospects must also pass criminal records and reference checks and an online aptitude test and engage in two rounds of interviews.

Even as they arrived at the Fireside Inn, attendees began a winnowing process destined to frustrate the hopes of most. While they stood in line to register, assessments of their “behavioral competence” were underway, said Gerry Ghazi, the president of Vermont HITEC, which operates the program. Organizers noted who showed up wearing shorts despite instructions to wear “business casual” or failed to bring along resumes, he said.

…But first on the horizon are the 30 jobs that Dartmouth-Hitchcock advertised with a starting wage of $14 an hour and an increase to $15 to $17 an hour after the apprenticeship. In Lebanon, D-H currently employs 76 pharmacy technicians and 37 medical assistants, said spokesman Rick Adams. [Emphasis added]

Seems like demanding work, no? Especially given the lengthy, unpaid training period and the one-year apprenticeship.

Curiously enough, on the Dartmouth job search website right now, there are several openings for custodial positions — janitors, in plain English — jobs that require no formal education, little or no training, and even less responsibility:

Custodian Duties.jpg

As you can see below (Job Grade C), a Dartmouth custodian will earn more on the first day of employment than an extensively trained pharmacy technician or medical assistant at DHMC will earn after well over a year of training and apprenticeship:

SEIU Custodian 2014.jpg

What is the logic of such a high wage at the College?

Addendum: The housekeepers at my local business are paid above the going wage (at businesses not including the College) for their work; their wages and benefits add up to less than half the total cost of the Dartmouth custodian — even though they work a heck of a lot harder.


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