With MassBioEd forecasting an additional 12,000 jobs by 2023, it’s clear that our industry must look to all available talent pools to fill these positions. We also know that Massachusetts can only remain the best place in the world for life sciences if companies hire the best and brightest, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity and more. Unfortunately, the data shows we’re not doing a great job currently. Women, African-Americans, Latinos/Hispanics and other minorities are woefully underrepresented in leadership positions, which is why MassBio has taken such a strong stance on improving diversity and inclusion – a cause I am fully committed to as Chair.
I’ve always believed great things happen when people figure out how to work together, so I identified those groups that were already focused on workforce development and getting young people excited about career opportunities in the life sciences to see how we could combine our forces to enact real change. To that end, I’m proud to announce Project Onramp, a collaboration between MassBio, MassBioEd, the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, Life Science Cares and Bottom Line to connect underserved students with industry internships so they are competitively positioned to join these companies upon graduation.
Why is this necessary? For students seeking a career in the life sciences, there is nothing as effective as an internship at a local biotech company. But at many companies, internship opportunities go unpublicized, and many are reserved for those with personal connections. This effectively shuts out promising students from underserved communities – so we’re going to change that. Furthermore, internships and future job opportunities in non-science positions abound in our industry and will be part of Project Onramp.
The life sciences industry has become a tremendous economic engine for greater Boston and Massachusetts. Now’s the time to spread the wealth and opportunities across the state and to all residents of the State of Possible. Change won’t happen overnight, but as we look five or even 10 years into the future, we must prepare the most diverse population possible to tackle the toughest unmet medical needs for patients. I’m calling on all MassBio members to create or commit summer 2019 internships at your company for this new program to ensure our cluster can continue its incredible growth. Learn more about how to sponsor an internship here.