DORCHESTER, MA—November 21, 2022—Today, the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio®) and Beacon Capital Partners announced a partnership to launch a nearly 4,000 square foot workforce training center at Southline Boston, the redevelopment project of the former Boston Globe building in Dorchester. Expected to open in Q4 of 2023, the MassBio Training Center will launch with three distinct fast-track certificate training programs that are purpose-built to meet both the needs of the life sciences industry and the unique needs of prospective learners. The certificate programs are being designed to provide entry into life sciences careers such as technicians and lab assistants for individuals with a high school degree or its equivalent. The Training Center and its unique model are a response to the current disconnect between the existing workforce demand—there are thousands of job openings in the life sciences industry in Massachusetts—with the existing educational pathways in the state’s training landscape, as identified in MassBio’s recent workforce report.
“The MassBio Training Center at Southline will rapidly deliver lab space, classrooms, and programming that directly responds to the needs of industry, current workforce challenges and skills gaps, and our deep desire to bring underrepresented and marginalized individuals into the life sciences industry,” said MassBio President and COO Kendalle Burlin O’Connell. “This is a prime example of MassBio identifying a problem, crafting a solution, and recruiting a team of partners from the private and academic sectors to make it happen.”
“We are thrilled to partner with MassBio and welcome the Training Center to Southline, and have committed to both provide the space in our building, and also perform and fund the design and fit-out. This Center will be the perfect addition to the biotech ecosystem that is developing at Southline,” said Steve Purpura, President – Life Science at Beacon Capital Partners. “It will create more community awareness around the opportunities in the life sciences industry which will translate into much needed labor for the biotech industry that is in dire need of trained talent at this level.”
”As the leading global hub for life sciences, we have an obligation and an opportunity to connect Boston residents to good-paying jobs in the industry,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “We must set ambitious goals to train and employ residents, meet the workforce needs of the sector, and empower our communities. The City of Boston is excited to partner on making the MassBio Training Center at Southline a model for pathways into this dynamic, growing industry for our city and our region.”
The Center also seeks to expand and bring diversity to the workforce in the life sciences industry to create economic opportunity for more, strengthen the industry’s competitiveness, support industry to keep it in the Commonwealth, add value to the healthcare system, and improve the lives of patients.
Training programs at the Center will be offered without a cost to learners, provide a stipend to offset lost work hours, and pay for necessary wraparound services, and feature short-term completion timelines. Certificate holders will have access to sophisticated entry-level positions with beginning salaries expected to pay mid to high five-figures plus benefits.
“I am honored that MassBio and Beacon Capital are working with me to bring this unique opportunity into the heart of our Dorchester neighborhood and city,” said City District 3 Councilor Frank Baker. “Training our residents right around the corner from where many of them live to provide them entry into rewarding careers in the life sciences is an integral part in the creation of a better future for our children.”
Three educational partners will provide different learning tracts focused on lab work, biomanufacturing, and reskilling/retraining:
- UMass Boston – Develop sustainable programs around lab skills for people with at least a high school degree who can also continue their educational journey in life sciences career advancement. Course credit will be eligible for transfer across the UMass and State University system.
- Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) – Consult with the Biomanufacturing Education & Training Center (BETC) at WPI for curriculum development, looking at their Fundamentals of Biomanufacturing as a baseline for biomanufacturing training.
- Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) – Draw on its deep expertise in life sciences education to provide tailored upskilling, leadership development, and professional skills training for employees at all levels in biotech, biopharma, and biomanufacturing companies. The University will also facilitate internship opportunities and offer certificates to provide foundational science and knowledge to those looking to break into the industry.
“As Boston’s only public research university and the most diverse university in New England, UMass Boston is committed to working alongside MassBio to strengthen our pipeline of talented, hardworking, and diverse students,” said Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, Chancellor of UMass Boston. “With four out of five UMass Boston graduates staying in Massachusetts after graduation, this purpose-built initiative will advance our goals of creating economic opportunity while strengthening the life sciences cluster that is so central to our economy.”
“For more than a decade, the BETC at WPI has been a hub of education, training, and innovation, making significant contributions to life sciences workforce development in Massachusetts,” said Michael Ahern, Director, WPI Biomanufacturing Education and Training Center. “We are pleased to partner on this important initiative and bring our expertise in biomanufacturing training and curriculum development to the Training Center. WPI recognizes the ability of a program like this to create economic opportunity by putting new populations on a path to rewarding jobs producing the medicines and research compounds that will improve human health.”
“We are preparing a workforce of the future to help Massachusetts maintain its global leadership positions in the life sciences,” said Richard J. Lessard, President of Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. “Our track record of training life sciences leaders and our diverse array of cutting-edge programs uniquely position MCPHS to meet the needs of this growing sector of the economy.”
Southline Boston’s location in Dorchester was selected for its connection to an untapped pool of talent from Boston’s urban neighborhoods and surrounding areas, with easy access to the Training Center by highway and public transportation. Likewise, learners will be in close proximity to biotech companies located in Kendall Square and the Seaport, as well as those already beginning to locate in and around the Dorchester campus, with opportunities for internships, apprenticeships, and entry-level jobs. MassBio is in conversations with numerous industry partners to support career awareness activities, collaborate on curriculum design with academic partners, and commit to hire program graduates.
“Massachusetts is facing a workforce shortage as STEM industries continue to expand across the Commonwealth. Career access needs to be a larger part of the conversations, in addition to job availability, if staffing concerns are going to be addressed,” said Yolanda McLean, Senior Director, Global Quality Control, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals. “The truth is, there are untapped resources in people of under-represented communities. Programs available to a wider range of individuals, creating a path to a biopharmaceutical career by combining education with practical experience, like those through the MassBio Training Center at Southline, are critical to ensuring we have a diverse and inclusive talent pool.”
To drive career awareness and community engagement, MassBio will soon release a workforce development website that will feature an overview of career pathways for individuals with different academic backgrounds, a search function for workforce training programs based on several criteria, and access to the Commonwealth’s largest biopharma careers page. This resource paired with increased engagement with community organizations in and around Boston will lead to a significant and diverse pool of potential participants for the Center’s certificate programs.
MassBio’s 2022 workforce survey of 120 member companies found that 78% plan to hire more employees in the coming year, while also revealing significant hiring challenges and an employment demand at the professional entry level especially that is far outpacing supply. Based on MassBio’s latest Industry Snapshot, the biopharma workforce added 12,000 jobs in 2021 and this growth will continue thanks in part to strong venture capital funding and ongoing lab space and biomanufacturing construction. When looking at racial and ethnic diversity in the Massachusetts life sciences workforce, MassBio’s 2021 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion report found that persons of color make up 32 percent of the Massachusetts population, but only 15 percent of the biopharma workforce. There is much room for improvement and MassBio and Beacon Capital Partners are excited for the opportunity to help meet the life sciences industry’s needs with a trained, qualified, and diverse new workforce.
MassBio’s mission is to advance Massachusetts’ leadership in the life sciences to grow the industry, add value to the healthcare system, and improve patient lives. MassBio represents the premier global life sciences and healthcare hub, with 1,600+ members dedicated to preventing, treating, and curing diseases through transformative science and technology that brings value and hope to patients. Founded in 1985, MassBio works to advance policy and promote education, while providing member programs, events, industry information, and services. For more information, visit www.massbio.org.
About Southline Boston
Southline Boston is the visionary 750,000+ square foot redevelopment of the former Boston Globe headquarters, located at 135 Morrissey Blvd. in the Dorchester section of Boston. Southline Boston will be home to a wide variety of life science, medical, and high-tech users. The 16-acre campus has superior access to and visibility from Morrissey Boulevard and The Southeast Expressway, and is only a short walk from both the JFK and Savin Hill MBTA Commuter Rail and Red Line stations. It also sits directly across from both the UMass Boston and BC High campuses. At the heart of the building, a four-story atrium features seating areas and the Morrissey Hall food hall open to the community and a number of leading tenant amenities, including a fitness center, basketball court, and bike racks.
About Beacon Capital Partners
Beacon Capital Partners (“Beacon”), headquartered in Boston, is a leading private real estate investment firm, developing, owning, and operating office and life science properties around the country. The firm has a 75-year legacy of successful real estate development, management, and transformation of workplaces. Since 1998, Beacon has raised over $19 billion of equity and, today, Beacon manages over $14 billion of real estate and owns and operates a portfolio spanning more than 12 million square feet in life science assets and a total of 29 million square feet including office across 14 U.S. markets.
Beacon supports building a sustainable and inclusive future and is an industry leader in life science development; Beacon builds spaces that life science companies want to occupy. The firm has been recognized as ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year for eleven consecutive years and has certified nearly 60 million square feet of LEED office space. Beyond sustainability, Beacon has earned five stars in the GRESB global ESG assessment and is a Fitwel champion. For more information, please visit www.beaconcapital.com.