‘Unable to find talent’: New non-profit offering free training to get more people into biotech jobs

BOSTON — Boston is a hub for innovation and that requires a lot of well-trained workers to keep it growing.

Bioversity is a new training program that is an initiative undertaken by MassBio, an advocacy group for the local life science industry.

“Bioversity is a new non-profit,” explained Executive Director Zach Stanley. “We’re based in Dorchester, and we have a workforce training center that was put together to help connect underrepresented populations from the Boston community and into life sciences careers.”

“I’m very excited about it,” said Jean Julien, 28, of Mattapan.

He’s now enrolled in the second cohort of students and is dreaming of a big career in biotech.

“I see myself as a lab op, maybe at a senior level in some really fancy biotech lab.”

Julien’s class is made of 17 students who range between the ages of 19-52 years old.

The students attend classes for 8 weeks and receive a stipend to help defray their costs while attending the program.

The students are taught by professionals in the field like Professor Ronny Priefer of the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

Stanley says the program is great news for local employers who have been struggling to fill open positions, as well as for people of color who have been trying to break into this industry.

“There are big representation issues, especially amongst Black and Latino workers, just not meeting the states averages across the industry.”

Stanley says the program is also creating awareness of new opportunities.

“One thing that we found is that even if somebody is interested in STEM or interested in science, a biotech career or a life sciences career may not even be on their list because they don’t know what that is. They don’t know what the jobs are.”

One thing the jobs are is well paying. They also offer upward mobility.

Cameron Daniel, a 19-year-old from Dorchester, was looking for a career path after graduating from high school.

She thinks it’s important the doors to these opportunities are opened for everyone.

“It’s important to get different perspectives and different backgrounds . . . so that we can find new and more innovative ways to help patients who need the care that these companies are bringing.”

The program is also stressing soft skills like being punctual and professional. Students are required to attend all classes and be in their seats promptly at 9 am.

The group graduates on May 2nd and another one will start on May 6th. Bioversity is still accepting applications for that class.

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