EYECARE Warby Parker Expands Its Optician Apprentice Program By Staff Friday, May 20, 2022 12:24 AM NEW YORK—Warby Parker, Inc. (NYSE: WRBY) is continuing to expand its Optician Apprentice Program, the company told VMAIL. The program started in 2017 to provide Warby Parker employees with the opportunity to become ABO-NCLE certified and, when applicable, licensed opticians. The company said, "The in-house program began for the brand’s retail employees to build their career by providing on-the-job training. It’s a step toward Warby Parker’s goal of furthering opticianry talent both at the company and within the industry at large, and toward its mission of providing exceptional services and vision care across platforms."The company noted that the program is open to anyone, including C/X or customer experience employees, "to ensure that customers can speak to a certified optician even if ordering glasses online." According to the company, it has officially trained over 300 opticians to date. There are over 3,000 employees at Warby Parker. More than half are in customer-facing retail or customer experience positions. Warby Parker currently operates over 170 stores. Warby Parker’s Apprentice Program offers comprehensive lessons, and one-to-one mentorship with a certified or licensed optician who provides in-store coaching and hands-on training. This has resulted in a high certification rate; Warby Parker told VMAIL its program pass rate is 88 percent. According to Adam Bentley, Warby Parker's head of optical field operations, "Across all of our locations, we employ over 450 opticians. We see a lot of interest in states where licensure is not required and over 100 of the nearly 300 employees who have completed the program are in states where licensure is not required. "As we’ve grown our retail footprint, the number of employees who have completed the program has increased exponentially. We have more people in the program now than ever before—at the moment, over 330 employees are in the process of completing our Optician Apprenticeship program," he said. Bentley added, "Our Apprentice Program is available to any interested and eligible employee across our retail and customer experience teams through a quarterly enrollment process. A key goal is to ensure that any customer-facing team member who’s interested in pursuing a career in opticianry has the resources to do so. "It’s been rewarding to see employees join the team with no previous optical experience and progress through the program. Completing the program not only enables them to become a certified optician but gives them the opportunity to become a more senior leader at the company," Bentley said.