October 25, 2021
ST. LOUIS – Through a collaborative partnership facilitated by BioSTL, St. Louis Community College has launched an introductory course for industry-recognized biotechnology skills with curriculum co-developed with Thermo Fisher Scientific. The five-day professional development training is an effort to develop local talent with relevant experience to meet and support St. Louis’ regional expertise in biotechnology – from quality control considerations to future technologies for bioprocessing.
The Biomanufacturing Research and Technical Training is a short-term training program that will provide adult learners with technical knowledge about their role on the job, and the program is cost-effective for employers.
While many St. Louis employers report plans to increase staffing levels coming out of the coronavirus pandemic, according to St. Louis Community College’s annual State of the Workforce report, “a headwind to the future hiring optimism, employers reported a shortage of workers with knowledge or skills as the most common barrier to expanding employment.”
“With this barrier in mind, employers need to be more strategic about growing talent, particularly with middle-skills jobs – those that require more than a high school diploma but less than a four-year college degree, such as a quality control analyst or a laboratory technician – being the most in-demand,” said Dr. Jeff Pittman, Chancellor, St. Louis Community College.
“I am consistently humbled by the innovation, creativity, and commitments coming out of St. Louis,” said Congresswoman Cori Bush. “When we talk about investing in our communities, we’re talking about generating meaningful opportunities for new jobs and better lives. That’s exactly why I’ve been holding firm over on Capitol Hill to ensure we pass the Build Back Better Act – because I know that St. Louis needs partnerships like this to build itself into one of the Midwest’s technology hubs. I am proud to support initiatives that bring more jobs, resources, and opportunities to St. Louis.”
Thermo Fisher Scientific identified this opportunity to develop local talent with biotechnology experience. The company needs a technically trained workforce to drive the production of biologic drug substance products, which treat a variety of chronic health conditions, including cancers and other life-threatening diseases as well as COVID-19. With recent expansion plans in St. Louis unveiled to invest $82.5 million to expand operations and create 169 new jobs, this training course comes at an important time to address the continued growth in critical therapies and medicines.
“The accelerated demand to bring important medicines and therapies to patients in need is fueling our expansion. Developing our current and future talent is central to this growth strategy,” said Paul Jorjorian, Vice President and General Manager, Biologics, Thermo Fisher Scientific. “We are very proud to be part of this important collaboration that brings together trade, industry and academia to develop the local workforce for careers in pharmaceutical manufacturing. We look forward to working closely with BioSTL and St. Louis Community College to bring this important training to the community.”
“Equitable workforce development is essential to the continued success of our growing biomanufacturing sector and our region,” said Justin Raymundo, Manager, Regional Workforce Strategy, BioSTL. “This cost-effective workforce solution provides a model for collaborations between our academic institutions, anchor employers, and community organizations in the region that enable short-term, accessible, and inclusive training for in-demand skill sets.”
These partnerships also signal the commitments of St. Louis’ life science employers, academic institutions, and community to hire and invest locally by developing innovative training programs that lead to quality jobs in high-growth sectors, like St. Louis’ vibrant bioscience industry. This is a direct response to the STL 2030 Jobs Plan, which calls for industry-led workforce collaborations as a key priority.
The Plan states, “The strategy to Become a Talent Engine and Magnet depends upon local employers establishing partnerships with education and workforce training, public sector agencies, support services and community organizations to create training programs that put more people— particularly those from historically disadvantaged and underrepresented communities—on pathways into quality jobs in supportive, inclusive workplaces.”
“The partnership among St. Louis Community College, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and BioSTL is a blueprint to model for other companies and other industries,” said Jason Hall, CEO, Greater STL, Inc. “This is a proven recipe for success: investing in the development of training programs for other high-demand STEM occupations will expand program capacity, improvde student access, and address rising regional demand for biotech workers.”
Visit St. Louis Community College online to learn more about biotechnology.
Dr. Elizabeth Gassel Perkins, St. Louis Community College, announces new biotech training course at kickoff event at The BioSTL Building | Katherine Bish for BioSTL