Special to the Record
Last week, Senator Sal DiDomenico delivered the keynote speech for the Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation (MassBioEd)’s Life Sciences Apprenticeship Program graduation. MassBioEd, a nonprofit focused on education, training, and workforce development within the burgeoning Life Sciences sector, honored the inaugural graduating class of its Life Sciences Apprenticeship program at a ceremony held at the MassBioHub. State Senator Sal DiDomenico joined with Massachusetts employers participating in the program to recognize the 21 graduates, who hail from 14 different Massachusetts cities and towns and worked for 11 different life science companies around Massachusetts.
The Life Sciences Apprenticeship Program supports the growing demand for talent in the life sciences sector by providing a unique opportunity for accelerated education and training to Massachusetts residents who are new to the workforce or interested in transitioning into the life sciences field. The graduation event coincided with the start of National Apprenticeship Week, a federal observance celebrating apprenticeship programs that support racial and gender equity and help advance critical talent pipelines to address larger workforce challenges.
“I was honored to be invited as the keynote speaker at this inspiring graduation ceremony,” said Senator DiDomenico, Assistant Majority Leader of the Massachusetts Senate. “This program provides individuals from underrepresented backgrounds with skills to attain a high-paying career where they can work on cutting-edge medicine and research that will help improve the lives of patients all over the world. This is an incredible program that has and will continue to help countless people in our communities and close the skills gap in Massachusetts.”
Launched in 2021, MassBioEd’s Life Sciences Apprenticeship program aims to create a diverse pipeline of trained individuals for difficult-to-fill positions at local companies and provide a pathway to a career in life sciences and improved future career prospects for individuals in the program. The program includes tracks in biomanufacturing and clinical operations, with a third career pathway to be introduced in 2023. Apprentices complete three to five months of classroom education followed by one year of paid on-the-job training at a partnering life sciences company. To date, 20 employers have participated in the program, and at least 17 apprentices already have been offered full-time positions. In 2022 MassBioEd enrolled 66 apprentices in the program, 65 percent of whom are people of color. These individuals were also recognized at the event for completing the educational portion of the program.
“Biotech has always interested me, and I was adamant about finding a career that I enjoy – this apprenticeship turned out to be a golden opportunity when I needed it the most. I will always look back on this experience with appreciation,” said David Gazelian, a member of the graduating class and current Biomanufacturing Technician at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals. “One of the most valuable aspects of the apprenticeship was the people I met. They inspired me to take every day and learn something new. This apprenticeship has opened the door to a new career path for me, and words can’t describe how thankful I am to be part of this.”
Partnering employers include major life sciences companies such as Bristol Myers Squibb, Pfizer, Thermo Fisher Scientific, AbbVie, and Takeda.
To learn more about the Apprenticeship Program, please visit https://www.massbioed.org/apprenticeship-program or contact [email protected].