Dorchester Reporter: Training center for life science jobs opens on Morrissey Blvd.

Jan 05, 2024

By Cassidy McNeeley, Reporter Correspondent

The following is an excerpt of an article that was published in the Dorchester Reporter on January 4, 2024:

A workforce training center that hopes to prepare people of color for careers in the Commonwealth’s bio-tech sector celebrated the opening of a new, 4,000-square-foot space on Thursday inside Southline Boston, the former Boston Globe building on Dorchester’s Morrissey Boulevard owned by Beacon Capital Partners.

Bioversity takes direct aim at recruiting men and women of color, including many city residents who are presently underrepresented in life science careers, including lab technicians and asisstants.

The first cohort of 20 Bioversity students will begin their 8-week certificate training course on Monday, Jan. 8. The free program, a partnership with the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and Mass Bio, a trade group that is funding the effort.

Of this group, 16 are Boston residents and four are from Dorchester, including 26 year-old Audrey Browning.

“I like that we got the opportunity to use this brand-new space and hearing how much was put into it and all the donations, that’s super sweet,” said Browning. “I’m so proud of Boston and MassBio and everyone else who put this together and I am so thankful. The fact that it’s the first cohort, I love that. This is a great opportunity for me and everyone else.”

Elected officials past and present were on hand for the opening ceremony for the state-of-the-art lab and classroom space. Attendees heard from Zach Stanley, the executive director of Bioversity and Secretary Lauren Jones, who leads the Executive Office of Workforce Development for Gov. Healey.

Stanley said that the Dorchester center will fill a critical need in the state’s economy.

“If you look at the data MassBio put out there, the DEI report at the end of last year shows minority populations, especially Black and brown, are extremely underrepresented in life sciences companies right now,” Stanley told the Reporter. “I think a lot of that comes down to it’s not that people aren’t qualified or are good employees or anything like that, it’s that they are not getting the opportunities or the visibility into what these jobs are.”

All of the students in the first class identify as Black/African American or Hispanic. Among the first cohort, 58 percent are women, 94 percent hold only a high school degree or some college, 26 percent are unemployed, and 52 percent are employed part-time.

“Together, they are an amazing, eager, motivated group,” said Stanley. “The one thing that binds them together is they took a chance on Bioversity.”

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