Project Onramp to Boost Diversity in Biotech and Tap New Talent With 50 Well-Paid Summer Positions For Students From Low-Income Backgrounds

Jan 29, 2019

Massachusetts Biotechnology Industry Creates First-In-Nation Program to Open Doors to Life Sciences Careers

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The leading life sciences organizations in Massachusetts today announced the start of Project Onramp, a new program that matches talented, first-generation students from low-income backgrounds with well-paid summer internships. The internships are intended to serve as a stepping-stone to a rewarding career for a talent pool that has typically had difficulty gaining access to the burgeoning life science industry. It will also help growing Massachusetts biotechnology companies fill the additional 12,000 positions estimated to be created by 2023.

“Project Onramp is a prime example of how we can find innovative solutions to problems when industry and government come together,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “This program will build on our goal of promoting workforce training and investing in the skills of Massachusetts works and I look forward to seeing its progress."

Project Onramp is sponsored by four organizations that work to build the industry in Massachusetts and maximize its positive impact on the community: MassBio, MassBioEd, the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, and Life Science Cares.

David Lucchino, chairman of MassBio and CEO of Frequency Therapeutics, said, “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, internships go unpublicized and are reserved for those with personal connections. Project Onramp will break down those barriers and enable a new, diverse group of young people to contribute to the important work we’re doing in Massachusetts.”

The press conference was held at Framingham State University, a leading member of the state’s university system with a growing life sciences program. Framingham State sophomore Cristina Foster of Dorchester, a 19-year-old majoring in biology and the first in her family to attend college, has been accepted into the program and will be matched with an internship for this summer.

“I’m thrilled to be working in a Project Onramp internship this summer,” said Foster. “This real-world experience will help me reach my goal of becoming a pediatrician.”

Bottom Line, a nonprofit that helps first-generation-to-college students from low-income backgrounds get into college, successfully graduate and find meaningful careers, will match students who are attending four-year colleges with summer internships of up to 12 weeks created by local biotechnology companies. The paid internships will include lab and scientific positions as well as business disciplines such as finance, human resources and marketing.

Life sciences companies that want to participate in this transformative program can get more information and commit internships to Project Onramp by visiting

“We’ve committed four internship slots for Summer 2019 to Project Onramp students,” said Julie Campbell, Head of Diversity & Inclusion for North America at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, which has several business units in Massachusetts. “We are eager to engage with passionate, talented young people who can contribute to our success while building their own futures in life sciences.”

About MassBio
MassBio® is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1985 that represents and provides services and support for the world’s leading life sciences supercluster. MassBio is committed to advancing Massachusetts' leadership in the life sciences to grow the industry, add value to the healthcare system and improve patient lives. Representing 1,100+ biotechnology companies, academic institutions, disease foundations and other organizations involved in life sciences and healthcare, MassBio leverages its unparalleled network of innovative companies and industry thought leaders to advance policy and promote education, while providing member programs, events, industry information, and services. Learn more at

About MassBioEd
MassBioEd’s mission is to build a sustainable life sciences workforce in the region through educational programs that inspire and propel students, engage and excite teachers, and illuminate the pathway from the classroom to careers. MassBioEd serves the region through programs focused on training high school educators, exposing students to the college and career opportunities within the life sciences, providing industry and higher education with job trends analysis, and advancing the discussion between community colleges, universities, and employers. Learn more at

About the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center
The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) is an economic development and investment agency dedicated to supporting the growth and development of the life sciences in Massachusetts, home to the most verdant and productive life sciences ecosystem in the world. Through public-private funding initiatives, the MLSC supports innovation, research & development, commercialization, and manufacturing activities in the fields of biopharma, medical device, diagnostics, and digital health. Since its creation in 2007, the MLSC has strategically deployed more than $677 million in Massachusetts. More at

About Life Science Cares
Life Science Cares SM is a collective effort of the life science industry to eliminate the impact of poverty on our neighbors in the greater Boston area. Through uniting the human and financial resources of life science companies and industry leaders, we support service organizations that do the best work in fighting poverty in our community. Learn more at

About Bottom Line
Bottom Line helps low-income and first-generation-to-college students get to and through college. This nationally recognized nonprofit is committed to building strong connections with our students, providing them with individual support, and ensuring they have the guidance they need to persist and earn a college degree. Learn more at

See all MassBio News