The following selections are from a story that originally ran in The Boston Globe and published online on October 25, 2022.
Though high-schoolers in some communities overwhelmingly attend two or four-year colleges after graduation — like 90 percent of graduates from Weston High School — that’s not true in lots of other places.
In New Bedford, Chelsea, and Lawrence, for example, the percentage of high school graduates enrolled at any type of college the year after graduation is closer to 30 percent.
And because of these yawning gaps, Massachusetts isn’t producing the workers that innovative companies need — at least, not at the scale that they’re needed.
“Everything I’ve heard from our members this year makes me think we are in the middle of one of the most difficult hiring environments for biotech ever,” notes Kendalle Burlin O’Connell, the president and COO of MassBio.
So, what if we ramp up the technical prowess of our high schools and community colleges? It’ll be a move in the right direction, but we’ll be playing catch-up with states that have been working on these sorts of pathways for years.
O’Connell points to North Carolina, which has made considerable investments in helping community college students enter the life sciences, developing a standard curriculum that she regards as a “game changer.” California, too, has rolled out a standardized approach.
And if there’s no one to take open positions, companies may be forced to relocate or, at the very least, open a satellite office closer to where skilled workers are.
“If we do not have a robust and diverse talent pipeline, we will not be able to stay on top,” O’Connell argues.
Read the full article at BostonGlobe.com.