Biotechnology Industry Endorses Eight Community Colleges
First round of ratings meant to help connect students with jobs
Eleven biotechnology degree or certificate programs at eight Massachusetts community colleges are training students with the skills and experiences they need to enter the biotechnology industry as it grows and hires, according to a new Massachusetts Life Science Education Consortium (MLSEC) endorsement program.
“These endorsements are the first step in the collaboration between industry and academia to raise the level of workforce preparedness and ensure Massachusetts’ economic future,” said Lance Hartford, Executive Director of MassBioEd. “This program addresses concerns related to biotechnology, one of Massachusetts’ economic engines, and is a model that can be applied to other industry clusters and to wider regional and national concerns for alignment between workforce needs and college graduate preparedness.”
MLSEC is a joint initiative between the MassBioEd Foundation and MassBio whose mission is to promote a coordinated approach to the development of the Massachusetts life sciences workforce through a partnership between the life sciences industry and higher education. The MLSEC Board of Directors includes representatives from the biotechnology industry and Massachusetts’ colleges. The consortium has worked with community colleges and industry to define the competencies biotechnology students need to transition into the workforce.
“Biotechnology companies continue to choose to grow or locate to Massachusetts largely because of the talented workforce, and we must work to maintain that competitive edge,” said Robert K. Coughlin, MassBio President & CEO. “The work the MLSEC has done to align community college programs with industry needs is a huge step in the right direction to building the biotechnology workforce of the future.”
This is the first sustained effort to connect higher educational degree programs directly with the biotechnology industry, ensuring Massachusetts’ future workforce has the skills and experience required to fill the jobs of the future.
The endorsement system—which ranks community college programs meet levels of criteria as gold or silver—were rolled out at a ceremony in Cambridge today. Speakers included Richard Freeland, Commissioner of Higher Education, Paul Reville, Secretary of Education, and Joanne Goldstein, Secretary of Labor & Workforce Development.
“It is wonderful to see the collaboration between the private sector, the public sector and the community colleges,” Goldstein said. “I would love to replicate this in other industries throughout the Commonwealth.”
Stefanie Bourn (left), a Middlesex Community College graduate who now works at Genzyme, shared her experience transitioning from a nursing program into biotechnology.
“I have the opportunity to work with many distinguished individuals and impact the lives of others as I sought to do in the first place,” said Stefanie, who works in company’s media preparation group in Framingham.
All of the endorsed programs were asked to demonstrate that students completing required courses have achieved core competencies defined by MLSEC working with academia and industry. Endorsed programs must also be focused on the knowledge and skills required for entry level work in research and/or manufacturing settings. Gold Level programs have also established internship or cooperative experience as an integral component.