The Capstone Institute is a revolutionary pharmacy tech school located in Jacksonville Florida. The school is licensed by the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Board of Pharmacy. The Capstone Institute trains students for careers as pharmacy technicians. Captone's founder Dr. Albert Chester graduated from Episcopal High School in 2003. He went on to play football at Florida A&M University before earning a doctorate in Pharmacy and returning to Jacksonville to work as a Pharmacy Manager for Walgreens. Ex-NFL star and Jacksonville Business Journal's 40 Under 40 honoree Drayton Florence has this to say about The Capstone Institute, ”The opportunity to change the community must come from within the community. The Capstone Institute is a life changing initiative.” The Institute was recently highlighted on Florida.com, News 4 Jax, The Chat, Jacksonville Free Press and many other notable publications.
Jeff Shuford: How has opening The Capstone Institute changed the community for the better?
Dr. Albert Chester: I believe The Capstone Institute is changing the community for the better on many levels. The first change is in regards to violence in our community. Violence has a direct correlation with unemployment and poverty. In our community, the average salary for ages 18 through 35 is less than $20,000 annually; many people will double their wages and increase their earning potential after completing our program. The logic is that increasing wages for the people in our community will promote our communities economic growth. The Capstone Institute is becoming an inspiration for others to strive to be better in our city.
Jeff Shuford: What's your purpose behind establishing The Capstone Institute?
Dr. Albert Chester: My mission was to establish a post-secondary school that would serve as a “lighthouse” and beacon of hope in the heart of a community stricken and clouded by poverty, pain, and despair. We don't just train students to become employed as pharmacy technicians; we develop future leaders that will affect positive change in the community.
Jeff Shuford: What're the biggest misconceptions about The Capstone Institute that you have encountered?
Dr. Albert Chester: Many potential donors and students ask if we are accredited. We are licensed by the Florida Department of Education and Florida Board of Pharmacy, but we will not be eligible for accreditation until 2018.
Jeff Shuford: What age and education demographics are you targeting?
Dr. Albert Chester: We are targeting anyone 17 years of age and older. There is no age limit. The students in our first session ranged from 22 to 56.
Jeff Shuford: Are there plans for expansion? If so, where and when?
Dr. Albert Chester: In 2018, we are looking to expand further in Jacksonville, Florida as well as branch off to the other main cities in the state and southeast region.
Jeff Shuford: Lieutenant Colonel Rickey L. Pope, USA (Retired), had this to say about your institution. “The Capstone Institute is another ember on the fire of progress within the community. We must continually support such ventures so that the fire will grow stronger.” How can the community and local businesses support your institution?
Dr. Albert Chester: The community has been very supportive, the more donations we receive, the more impact we will have in our community. We encourage our supporters to spread the word, send students to The Capstone Institute, donate to our Institution, and to consider sponsoring a student to attend The Capstone Institute.
Jeff Shuford: What's your Institution's sponsorship guidelines?
Dr. Albert Chester: We don’t have any guidelines or restrictions. We have recently partnered with a nonprofit (The Summit Vision Foundation) so that our donors and sponsors can receive a tax write-off for any donation made to The Capstone Institute.
Jeff Shuford: What stage are your students in regarding their graduation time frame?
Dr. Albert Chester: The students from the inaugural session are going on their 5-week externship, and our new students are just starting the program.
Jeff Shuford: How do you prepare students for future success?
Dr. Albert Chester: Every Thursday after our cumulative review, we have life skills topic sessions ranging from financial education, personal/profession relations, and character development. We ensure that each student writes out a 10-year plan. Their plan lists the student's attributes and deficiencies to encourage the student to improve and create their ideal realistic situation.
Jeff Shuford: How can we learn more about The Capstone Institute?
Dr. Albert Chester: Potential students and donors can visit www.thecapstoneinstitute.org or visit The Capstone Institute locally at 3416 Moncrief Road Suite 101 Jacksonville FL 32209. We are also available to answer any questions via phone 9049931800 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeff Shuford: Thank you for your time Dr. Chester.
Dr. Albert Chester: Thanks for supporting The Capstone Institute. It was an honor to be interviewed.