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QCC’s Biomanufacturing Pilot Program Making Inroads Thanks to MBI Grant

Contact: Karen Hutner
Office of Institutional Communications
khutner [at]

Release Date: 

WORCESTER, MA—April 26, 2022—Quinsigamond Community College’s entry-level Biomanufacturing On-Ramp program is gaining traction. Thanks to a $50,000 grant from Mass. Biomedical Initiatives (MBI) and the Mass. Office of Business Development (MOBD), QCC is running two spring workshops of its “Fundamentals of Biomanufacturing” pilot program, designed to provide access to entry-level positions in biomanufacturing.  The program began in Fall 2021 and is being funded through the “Building a Diverse Biomanufacturing Pipeline” Challenge Grant Program.

“Biomanufacturing jobs are increasing exponentially in our region and programs such these offer a unique way for people to quickly upskill and reskill, so they can enter a field that is rich with opportunities,” said QCC President Luis G. Pedraja, Ph.D. “We want to thank MBI and the MOBD for supporting a program that is contributing to our economic growth in the Commonwealth.”

During the 10-week program workshops, participants receive a comprehensive overview of the biomanufacturing industry. They are exposed to tasks performed by entry level technicians, fundamental science skills, receive training on “soft skills” needed to be successful in the workplace through the “Bounce” program curriculum (a wrap-around soft skills workforce readiness training program that helps students understand themselves better), support in developing a resume and mock interviews, as well as job search skills.

During Fall 2021, QCC partnered with MBI and AbbVie to offer its first entry-level Biomanufacturing On-Ramp Workshop. The 10-week pilot program enrolled 13 English Language Learners (ELL) from QCC’s Adult Community Learning Center.  Some of these students had postsecondary educational credentials earned in their home countries, and all but one completed the program in mid-December 2021.

“Having had the chance to meet the graduates of QCC’s Biomanufacturing Onramp Technician program, I was amazed to see how the program could alter these students’ lives and fuel the industry’s growth in only 10-weeks.  Congratulations to QCC & AbbVie on this great partnership,” said MBI President and CEO, Jon Weaver.

Thus far, four graduates have received offers of employment from AbbVie, one from IPG Photonics Corporation and another student decided to enter QCC’s Future Focus program and work toward a degree.

One graduate of the inaugural class was Lorena Hoxhalli, who came to the U.S. from Albania with an advanced degree in electrical engineering, on Independence Day, 2020. After she completed the Biomanufacturing On-Ramp pilot program, she was offered a job at AbbVie.

“So much has happened in the past few years.  Some of it was planned and some was not.  I would not have ever been able to plan that a free training class at QCC through the MBI program would give me a new passion for work.  I am so happy that I was able to be a part of that program,” Ms. Hoxhalli said.

For the two spring workshops, QCC reached out to a variety of students including those who stepped away from their academic program during the pandemic and others who recently completed their high school equivalency.  

“While this program is still in its fledgling stages we already see great promise. This program sets students up for success. By the end of June 2022, we expect 36 students to have completed the program. As soon as the students finish they are ready to enter the biomanufacturing industry,” said QCC’s Associate Vice President for Strategic Academic & Workforce Initiatives, Kathy Rentsch, Ed.D. “Thanks to our wonderful community partner, AbbVie (Worcester), and our new partners, Boston BioProducts (Milford) and Charles River Labs (Shrewsbury), many of these students will have their resumes reviewed, be offered interviews, and subsequent jobs. It’s an incredible program and one we hope to have continue and expand.”

 For more information about QCC, contact Karen Hutner, Interim Director of Institutional Communications at 508.854.2842 or khutner [at]

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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.