MLSEC endorses biotechnology programs at community colleges

April 14, 2011

Program fosters relationships between students and industry leaders

By Stephanie Antonellis

The Massachusetts Life Science Education Consortium (MLSEC) has officially endorsed 11 biotechnology degree or certificate programs at eight local community colleges as preparing students to meet the needs of industry.

Endorsed programs include:

Berkshire Community College

Bunker Hill Community College

Middlesex Community College

Mt. Wachusett Community College

Northern Essex Community College

Quinsigamond Community College

Roxbury Community College

Springfield Technical Community College.


MLSEC, an initiative convened by MassBioEd and MassBio, was created to facilitate partnerships between the life sciences industry and higher education in order to more effectively match graduating students with the jobs companies are seeking to fill. In accordance with this mission, MLSEC’s Board of Directors includes representatives from both the biotechnology industry and both public and private colleges and universities.Roxbury

“Several studies indicated the biotech sector had little awareness of how community college graduates could fill biotech entry level positions. And at the same time community colleges needed more guidance on course content that would meet industry’s needs,” said Lance Hartford, Executive Director of MassBioEd. “MLSEC was created by MassBio and MassBioEd in order to increase linkages between community college and the industry’s workforce needs. This endorsement serves as the first concrete demonstration of a new workforce development program that meets industry and academia needs”

The endorsement program represents a landmark effort to bridge degree-granting programs and the life sciences industry, ensuring that potential biotechnology employees will have the requisite skills and job experience for future careers in the industry. MLSEC collaborated with community colleges and life sciences companies to outline the competencies biotechnology students should possess to ensure a smooth transition into industry careers.

Hartford described how MLSEC researched curricula and required competencies at the community colleges. “We vetted those against industry leaders and said, are these the competencies you want graduates to have?” he said. MLSEC then used industry feedback to finalize the criteria for endorsement.

The endorsed programs were able to effectively demonstrate that students completing the biotechnology program possessed the core competencies set out by MLSEC and the skills and knowledge needed for entry level work in research and manufacturing settings. Programs which were designated as “Gold Level” also include an internship or cooperative education component in order to strengthen and hone these skills.

The effort is being recognized by state educational and workforce leaders.

“It is wonderful to see the collaboration between the private sector, the public sector and the community colleges,” said Joanne Goldstein, Secretary of Labor & Workforce Development. “I would love to replicate this in other industries throughout the Commonwealth.”

Interested in more information about MLSEC endorsed programs? Contact Lance Hartford at or 617-674-5100.




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