- Retailer Cultivates Careers in Optical Industry by Funding Education and Certification Programs, Providing Extensive Training, and Launching a Proprietary Leadership Academy
Employees have always been a priority at Eyemart Express, and now, the national optical retailer is making a bigger investment in its more than 2,200 associates with the launch of a proprietary leadership academy and new programs aimed to help fund optical education and certifications.
“The optical industry is full of individuals who are driven by the purpose to help other people, and our new programs cultivate their ambitions to the fullest extent,” says Gianna Venturi, Chief People Officer at Eyemart Express. “Our goal is to improve people’s lives by helping them see clearly in the communities that we serve. That is why we are making it easier for our associates and those who are discovering a career in optical to learn and grow with our extensive resources and support that will help set them up for their long-term success.”
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Proprietary Programs with Lasting Impacts
Education and extensive training are the foundations for a career in the optical industry. Like other trade professions, the skills that associates obtain while working in optical remain with them for the rest of their lives. Hence, Eyemart Express is helping all associates by removing barriers that may have previously prevented continuing education efforts or a career switch to the optical field.
The retailer funds education expenses and offers new proprietary programs for associates’ career development and advancement. These programs include:
- Licensed Optician Program: Currently, 22 states require a license for opticians. The process can take several years and be costly for applicants. This Eyemart Express program offers four tracks that provide training, support, and any tools needed to achieve and maintain a licensed status.
- Manager Program: Developed for store managers, this program provides leadership development and support that empower participants to successfully lead and oversee their teams.
- Leadership Academy: The prestigious and intensive six-month program is exclusive to Eyemart Express associates and serves to elevate management skills and prepare participants as they seek future leadership roles in the company. Through the academy’s two distinct tracks, associates accepted in this program have opportunities for experiential career development and mentor guidance. They can also experience having a direct impact on business projects that address real-time needs or challenges in the stores.
The feedback from Eyemart Express associates has been overwhelmingly positive since the program launched earlier this year. A manager in South Carolina states: “I don’t think there’s any other company willing to do so much to support opticianry. The licensed optician program is a concerted effort to invest in people, and it makes me so proud to be a part of this company.”
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A Focus on People
Since Eyemart Express’ founding in 1990, associates have remained at the core of every decision the company makes. In fact, the retailer’s defined principles center around the employees: trust, openness, compassion, opportunity, and kaizen (or improvement).
Recognition and associate feedback are highly valued through the optical retailer’s unique open-door policy. This ensures any associate in a store or distribution center, or at the home office can share new ideas or give feedback that will be heard by leadership, whether it be a store manager or Eyemart Express CEO Michael Bender.
The company emphasizes the importance of work-life balance and continues to support its associates with competitive pay and benefits. The optical retailer offers a generous 401(k) match, paid time off with additional bonus days, access to telehealth services, and interest free or discounted purchasing programs.
“A happy and fulfilled team leads to positive customer interactions and better service,” says Venturi. “It is a win-win for everyone.”
In addition to the more than 100 jobs Eyemart Express will add by the end of this year, the company plans to create upwards of 300 jobs in 2022. Positions at Eyemart Express range from full- and part-time sales associates to lab technicians and licensed opticians.
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