Johnson & Johnson Vision: Seeing the big picture

Courtesy of the Jacksonville Times Union

Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Centuries later, his words still hold true. A 2016 study funded by the Lumina Foundation found that for every $1 major health insurer Cigna invested on its educational reimbursement program, it saved $1.29.

Investment in employee education is a strategy Johnson &Johnson Vision has implemented on the First Coast, earning them the 2017 First Coast Manufacturers Association Workforce Education Award.

The award is given to the company that emphasizes specific initiatives to improve the workforce and enhance the skills of current or potential employees.

Johnson & Johnson Vision does just that.

The company offers individualized development plans for each employee, as well as $8,000 per year for tuition reimbursement.

It also funds educational grants for those continuing medical education in areas like ophthalmology or optometry.

Craig Palmer, Global Marketing Director, Consumer Eye Health, Johnson & Johnson VisionCraig Palmer is the global marketing director of consumer eye health at Johnson & Johnson Vision. He joined the company through its Marketing Leadership Development Program, a two-year rotational program for college new-hires, which gave him a variety of experiences across the company.

“Through that experience I gained exposure to senior J&J leaders and developed invaluable practical skills that complemented my formal university education,” Palmer said.

Palmer, who has been with the company 11 years, also helped create the Youth Leadership Development Program in 2009. In a partnership with Englewood High School, Johnson & Johnson employees mentor students, visit campus and reinforce key leadership fundamentals. The students work with employees to create a business strategy and marketing plan for a mock entrepreneurial endeavor.

“Our goal is for students to participate in the program throughout their high school career so that we can follow their success as they progress through each grade level,” Palmer said.

About 40 students participate in the program each year.

The company has also partnered with Englewood High School and Florida State College at Jacksonville to create the Academy Program. Students at Englewood who apply and are accepted into the program can graduate with an Associate of Science degree from FSCJ free of cost.

The program offers dual-enrollment classes, and Johnson & Johnson mentors advise and guide the students along the way. The company pays for all the classes, college textbooks and even transportation to FSCJ. Program participants are eligible for paid summer internships, and graduates receive priority placement at job interviews for full-time positions with Johnson & Johnson.

The Academy Program’s first group of students will graduate this coming May.

“It is truly an honor to partner with our local academic institutions and schools on the development our youth through the hands-on programs we offer,” said Plant Manager Paula Shepherd in a statement.

Another way Johnson & Johnson helps improve its workforce is through its leadership development programs. Leadership development programs offer challenging, in-depth work assignments, ongoing mentorship and targeted training to recent graduates looking to accelerate their careers.

The programs cater towards all types of people — from undergraduates to Master of Business Administration students.

“Our education programs at Johnson & Johnson Vision are centered around providing unique opportunities to upcoming generations in the workplace,” said Fran Mirmina, worldwide vice president of consumer and logistics services, in a statement.

“We offer exposure into different areas of our business in hopes that it will spark their interests and help guide a future career path.”

The Vision Care Institute is a state-of-the-art facility in Jacksonville that’s designed to give professionals and students hands-on training and education that sets them apart. The institute offers programs lasting anywhere from a few hours to a few days. The programs teach things like the best ways to give an eye examination, effective ways to combat dry eyes and effective ways to communicate with patients. The Success Through Education Program is an undergraduate program that helps students become more comfortable in their contact-lens knowledge.

More than 100,000 eye-care professionals have trained at the institute.

“Every day we work hard to help more people around the world improve the most precious of their human senses — their eyesight — and we need a strong and talented workforce in Jacksonville to accomplish this,” Mirmina said. “We learn just as much from them as they learn from us.”

The First Coast Manufacturers Association was created in 1989. Its goal is to eliminate unnecessary barriers to manufacturers, create pathways for a skilled workforce and promote public awareness of manufacturing’s significance.

The association recognizes annually those companies and employees that make outstanding contributions to manufacturing. There are eight award categories, ranging from Manufacturer of the Year to Environmental Protection.

Learn more about Johnson &Johnson Vision at

Will Weber: (904) 359-4467


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