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By wmadministrator

In response to an increasing need for qualified pharmacy personnel, Sullivan University’s College of Pharmacy has established a professional pharmacy technician program. U.S. Department of Labor statistics indicate employment opportunities for pharmacy technicians are expected to increase by 32 percent over the next few years.

Alpine Access, a Denver-based company that provides customer service support for companies such as Office Depot, J.Crew, ExpressJet and the Internal Revenue Service, is expanding into Kentucky and is hiring more than 100 people for work-at-home customer service positions. Alpine Access launched its home-based employee contact center model in 1998 and now employs more than 7,500 home-based agents. The company has been included on a number of fastest-growing company lists such as the Inc. 500, Deloitte & Touche Fast 500 and the Denver Business Journal in each of the past several years.

Papa John’s International Inc. has signed a development agreement with Berjaya Pizza Company Sdn Bhd, to open 100 Papa John’s restaurants in Malaysia over the next 10 years, with the first slated to open later this year. The company plans to initially focus its development in Kuala Lumpur before developing further within the Klang Valley region and other cities over the next decade. There currently are 171 Papa John’s restaurants in Asia, including China and South Korea, and more than 3,200 Papa John’s restaurants worldwide.

Ford’s move to reduce production of its Explorer model is also impacting its suppliers. Lear Corp., which operates a Louisville plant that supplies seats for the Ford Explorer, has eliminated 140 positions at the Louisville facility as a result of Ford’s cutbacks. “That [Explorer] plant is their only customer,” United Auto Workers spokesman Roger Kerson told the (Louisville) Courier-Journal. “They are going to match what is going on in the assembly plant.”

Frontier Airlines has notified the Louisville Regional Airport Authority that it will cease operations in Louisville on Aug. 26. Frontier began service to Louisville in April 2007, and operates two daily nonstop flights to Denver, giving it a 3.37 percent market share at Louisville International. “These are constantly changing and very challenging times for the airline industry,” said Skip Miller, executive director of the Airport Authority. “The financial impact of high fuel costs has caused many airlines to rework their business plans and reduce flights and routes.” In April, Frontier filed voluntary petitions for reorganization under Chapter 11.

Humana has signed a definitive agreement to purchase Metcare Health Plans Inc. (MHP) for $14 million. Metcare is a wholly owned subsidiary of Metropolitan Health Networks Inc., based in West Palm Beach, Fla. AdvantageCare, the Medicare Advantage health plan offered by MHP, provides Medicare beneficiaries with access to comprehensive health care coverage in Florida. The acquisition is expected to increase Humana’s Medicare Advantage membership by approximately 7,000 members in 13 Florida counties.

Arison Insurance Services Inc. has been sold to Assurance Investment Partners for an undisclosed amount. Previously an affiliate of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Kentucky, Arison has six offices across Kentucky and sells medical, dental, life and disability insurance to groups and individuals. The company will continue to operate under the Arison name and all of Arison employees will be employed by AIP.

General Electric’s announcement that it is considering spinning off its Louisville-based Consumer & Industrial division into a new company was met with optimism by city and state officials. Gov. Steve Beshear and Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson said such a decision would give Louisville the chance to retain the jobs at GE Appliance Park – and to become the home of a new Fortune 250 company. Abramson, Beshear and Greater Louisville Inc. have already begun working on a plan to retain the new company. “Now, the real work begins – convincing this new company that Louisville should be the global headquarters for this new company,” Abramson said. The Consumer & Industrial division includes GE’s appliances, lighting and industrial units.

Royal Philips Electronics, a Dutch company that purchased The Genlyte Group Inc. earlier this year, has announced plans to move its Louisville operations to Boston. Company officials said moving the office to the Northeast enables Philips to more easily consolidate the Louisville operations with facilities the company already has in the area. The relocation of will mean the loss of approximately 60 jobs for Louisville.

The University of Louisville has announced plans to establish a multi-disciplinary autism center that will serve as a one-stop resource for families dealing with autism. A joint effort by the UofL departments of psychiatry and pediatrics and the College of Education and Human Development, the UofL Autism Center eventually will incorporate resources from other university programs to provide research, educational leadership, support, clinical and educational services to children with autism and their families. The university-based partnership also will serve as the focus for collaboration with other community-based autism services and advocacy groups. Autism, a brain disorder that causes significant social and communication problems, is one of the nation’s leading disabilities. Autism and related disorders are believed to occur at a rate of 1 in 144 children.

The Louisville Water Company
(LWC) has entered a partnership agreement with the Hardin County Water District (HCWD) No. 1 to expand water service to Hardin County and Fort Knox. HCWD No. 1 General Manger Jim Bruce said the partnership utilizes the strengths of both utilities. “Hardin County is growing, and regional partnerships like the one with Louisville Water are critical to successfully managing that growth and making sure that our community continues to thrive.” LWC currently provides water to more than 810,000 people in the Louisville metro area and parts of Bullitt, Nelson, Oldham, Shelby and Spencer counties.

WK Dickson, a North Carolina-based multi-disciplined consulting firm that specializes in infrastructure solutions, has opened a new regional office in Louisville to better serve its growing client base in the region. The new Louisville office will be managed by John W. Cosper, PE.

Researchers at the University of Louisville’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center have confirmed a link between the human papillomavirus and head and neck cancer. Their findings indicate that current vaccines, which protect against the HPV 16 virus, could prevent a large number of head and neck cancer cases. Head and neck cancers account for approximately 5 percent of all cancers in the United States and are more common in men and people over age 50. The American Cancer Society estimates that 35,000 men and women in this country will develop head and neck cancer in 2008.

ResCare, a Louisville-based provider of services for people with disabilities and special needs, has acquired Caregivers Home Health, Inc., a Wisconsin home care company. The company has operations in Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa and Florida and primarily provides home care and personal care services to seniors. Annual revenues are expected to be $20 million.