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QCC’s Biomanufacturing Pilot Program Bridges Employment Gap Through Community Partnerships

Contact: Karen Hutner
Office of Institutional Communications
khutner [at] qcc.mass.edu
 

Release Date: 
11/1/2021

WORCESTER, MA—November 1, 2021— Quinsigamond Community College has partnered with Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives (MBI) and AbbVie, to deliver an innovative entry-level Biomanufacturing On-Ramp Workshop designed to encourage more people to enter the biomanufacturing industry pipeline.  Enabling more people to join the biomanufacturing workforce is the premise behind QCC’s biomanufacturing pilot program that kicked off in early October.

“At AbbVie Bioresearch Center in Worcester, we annually onboard up to 80 new entry-level employees and are keenly focused on partnering with educational institutions like QCC to build the skills and leadership behaviors we need to foster high-performing teams,” said AbbVie’s Strategic Operations Director, Nicholas Willnow. “Our success in biologics development and manufacture relies on the knowledge and diversity of thought that a program like the Biomanufacturing On-Ramp Workshop enables for individuals in Central Massachusetts.” 

Central Massachusetts has one of the highest percentages of growth in biomanufacturing jobs (7.9% growth in 2020), and is home to over 60 biotech companies.

“Quinsigamond Community College has a long track record of preparing and training students for well paying, good careers that set people up with great opportunities in the workforce,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “As Central Massachusetts becomes a hub of innovation, this Biomanufacturing Pilot Program will build upon that success and I look forward to seeing what comes out of this partnership between QCC, AbbVie and MBI.”

 “There is a coming wave of opportunity in biomanufacturing in Central Massachusetts.  This partnership between QCC, AbbVie, Massachusetts Office of Business Development (MOBD,) and MBI will connect a broader workforce to life-changing opportunities in biotech and directly connect students to jobs,” said MBI President and CEO, Jon Weaver.

Close to a dozen adult, non-native English speakers are currently taking part in QCC’s 10-week biomanufacturing pilot program.

“We want to help build and support adult learners and those individuals who have had the fewest opportunities afforded them,” said Kathy Rentsch, associate vice president for Strategic Academic & Workforce Initiatives, at QCC. “This workshop is a quick on-ramp for these individuals to gain strong entry-level biomanufacturing skills that will make them prime job candidates in this growing industry.”

The entry-level Biomanufacturing On-Ramp Workshop offers a tiered modality of learning beginning with the BOUNCE program, a wrap-around soft skills workforce readiness training program that helps students understand themselves better, to ensure they will be successful and effective employees. Following the BOUNCE training, a bilingual instructor will teach the students biomanufacturing content and industry terminology. During the final weeks of the program, students will receive support around resume creation and will participate in mock interviews to hone their communication skills.

“AbbVie and several other companies have offered to interview these individuals after they complete the workshop and consider them for employment opportunities. We hope that this pilot program will be a steppingstone to a better life for these students and a clear pathway to integrate educated and workforce-ready workers into area biomanufacturing companies,” Dr. Rentsch said. “This type of educational model is a win-win for everyone.”

The current program is funded through MOBD in partnership with MBI. QCC intends to expand the program model through additional funding opportunities.

Shawn Fitzpatrick, head of manufacturing (in Marlborough) for national biopharmaceutical company Resilience, Inc., addressed the need for skilled entry-level workers in today’s biomanufacturing companies.

“The On-Ramp program QCC developed has the potential to fill a crucial need for our industry and the exponential growth of Biomanufacturing in Massachusetts. This growth has created a need for this type of program to feed the workforce pipeline and this training can provide skills needed for entry level roles such as Manufacturing Technicians, Quality Control, and Supply Chain to name a few,” Mr. Fitzpatrick said. “I’m looking forward to seeing the potential that this program has to offer our industry.”

For more information about QCC, contact Karen Hutner, Publications/Press Manager at 508.854.2842 or khutner [at] qcc.mass.edu

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Quinsigamond Community College is the most affordable higher education in Worcester County. As a regional leader in education and workforce development, QCC serves the diverse educational needs of Central Massachusetts by providing affordable, accessible, and high quality programming leading to transfer, career, and lifelong learning.

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