Connect: The Critical Role of Social Capital in Life Sciences Workforce Development

Oct 21, 2021

Guest Blog by Yefei Jin, Strategic Projects Advisor, Life Science Cares

Our personal and professional networks carry value, otherwise known as social capital. Research has shown that social capital has an immense impact on a student’s ability to get a job and long-term career outcomes.  As the life sciences industry works to develop its future diverse talent pipeline, we should each seek to leverage our personal and professional networks to address opportunity gaps in our own communities.

Social capital is a lever for economic mobility. Between 70-85% of jobs are filled via networking. However, college students and young adults from underrepresented backgrounds or underserved communities have limited access to these existing networks. Students in less affluent communities have less access to curated networking experiences that often take the form of mentorships, guest speakers, networking events, etc.

Just this week, Life Science Cares announced the launch of One-to-One, a platform connecting students underrepresented in the industry with career exploration opportunities and strong professional networks. One-to-One matches students from low-income backgrounds, who are first-generation, and/or identify as students of color, with life sciences professionals from diverse roles and backgrounds for conversations intended to increase students’ interest in the fast-growing life science industry. One-to-One opens up our industry for farther-reaching human connection. Starting at the grassroots level, volunteers from all backgrounds can give a face to the industry through their own stories and become part of a student’s ever-evolving network. For companies, these individual interactions add up to create a channel for identifying diverse, talented students early and begin moving them through the recruitment pipeline.

“Many of us in the life sciences can point to a time in our lives where we benefited from a friend, family, or community connection,” said Life Science Cares Boston Executive Director Sarah MacDonald. “One-to-One levels the playing field and ensures that motivated, talented students have a chance to build a network and explore new opportunities for careers in our fast-growing, mission-driven industry.”

One-to-One relies on existing strengths of the life sciences industry– our incredibly committed employees, mission-driven work, and real work opportunities.

  1. A strong volunteer base: Since 2016, Life Science Cares has organized thousands of volunteers from hundreds of companies to donate time and resources to support communities in need. There is an enormous appetite for industry professionals to take part in supporting students.
  2. An interdisciplinary field with a resonating purpose: The life sciences industry appeals to the academic and mission-driven interests of young people today. With a common purpose of improving people’s lives and building a more sustainable world, the industry can speak to the core values held by our next generation of talent.
  3. Tangible career opportunities: MassBioEd estimates there will be demand for an additional 40,000 net-new life sciences jobs in Massachusetts by 2024. This drives a deeper need to engage with K-12 and higher education stakeholders who share a common equity agenda.

As our industry thinks critically about addressing opportunity gaps, the question of how to close the social capital divide will continue to persist. One-to-One gives us a place to start.

Companies interested to learn more about One-to-One can visit

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