MBI Hosts Biannual Biomanufacturing Workforce Initiative Meeting
Last month, we welcomed members of the Biomanufacturing Workforce Initiative (BWI) to MBI for a conversation about how academia and industry can work collaboratively to meet the workforce needs of today and tomorrow. The BWI was born from a partnership between MBI and MassHire who saw a need for a translator to start a conversation about building up the workforce between industry and academia. The BWI now includes 22 members who meet twice per year.
Bringing together industry and academia ensures that there is collaboration across the workforce pipeline. By creatively working together, we can ensure that students of all ages are trained in areas in which they can find jobs and that industry has access to a talented pool of individuals ready to support their growth here in Central Massachusetts.
At our October meeting, we heard from Quinsigamond Community College (QCC), a founding member, who shared an update about their Biomanufacturing Technician Training Program, a 10-week training curriculum that provides students with the basic skills necessary for a career in the industry. The program began as a collaboration with MBI and AbbVie who identified the need for a training program that could quickly and effectively bring new, well-trained technicians into industry. As a testament to their dedication, QCC recently launched a Cell Culture component to the program to better suit our industry members’ needs.
We also heard from MassBioEd’s Life Science Apprenticeship program which includes classroom and laboratory training followed by on-the-job experience. MassBioEd’s apprenticeship program provides accelerated training for Biomanufacturing Technicians, Clinical Trial Associates, and Laboratory Support Specialists. Companies that participate in the apprenticeship program gain access to a pool of work-ready candidates with skills matched to employer needs.
We ended the meeting with a discussion about current and upcoming workforce needs. The companies in attendance identified three main areas that they would like to see training opportunities and a stronger workforce pipeline: automation, quality control/quality assurance, and calibration & metrology.
MBI is devoted to growing the regional BioCluster by diversifying the incoming workforce. According to the Donahue Institute, Worcester has a larger foreign born adult population than any other Massachusetts Gateway City so programs like QCC’s Biomanufacturing Technician Training program and MassBioEd’s Life Science Apprenticeship program work to both ensure a healthy pipeline of talented workers but also to increase diversity in the talent pool.
Interested in learning more about the Biomanufacturing Workforce Initiative or would like to get involved? Reach out to Melina Reid at [email protected].