San Diego State University and BIOCOM Institute Receive $4.95 Million Grant: The BRIDGE Project, Linking Education to Employment in San Diego's Life Sciences Industry

SAN DIEGO, Feb. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- San Diego State University, BIOCOM, San Diego Workforce Partnership, and the Southern California Biotechnology Center at Miramar College today announced the award of a three-year, $4.95 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor aimed at assisting the economic growth of the San Diego region's life sciences industry. The Biotechnology Readiness, Immersion, Certification and Degrees for Gainful Employment (BRIDGE) project will provide education, training, and placement services to more than 1,000 veterans, incumbent workers and dislocated and unemployed workers within the San Diego region.

The BRIDGE project is a partnership linking training and higher education with employment opportunities that address the regional and state-wide workforce needs of the life sciences industry. The project will focus on the critical need for clinical laboratory scientists, medical laboratory technicians, medical physicists, and professional scientists. SDSU and Miramar College will provide certificate, degree, and Professional Science Master's (PSM) programs. The BIOCOM Institute's Life Science Immersion Program will provide training needed for successful biotechnology careers, and the BioCollaborative, created in cooperation with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, will provide an online resource to facilitate seamless transition from higher education to careers in the life sciences industry.

All of these courses are part of a pipeline that can be used to educate, recruit, train and place workers of all levels, from high school students to people with graduate degrees and military veterans.

The grant is part of more than $225 million in federal stimulus funding awarded by the Department of Labor to create jobs in health care and high growth industries under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. There were 55 grants awarded in this round of funding. The BRIDGE Project is one of four biotechnology programs to receive funding.

"These are jobs that will offer good wages and benefits far into the future," said Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis.

As feedback from major biotechnology employers recognizes that many veterans may be optimal candidates for this job sector, the California Department of Veterans Affairs and military education offices will work with the BRIDGE Project to place a special focus on connecting veterans with employment opportunities in biotechnology and the life sciences.

"We are very pleased to be able to reach out to veterans, the unemployed and other job seekers in the San Diego region and enable these individuals and San Diego's life sciences industry to benefit significantly from our nation's Economic Stimulus investment in higher education," said SDSU President Stephen L. Weber.

"SDSU and BIOCOM have a long history of partnership, beginning with the establishment of a master's degree in regulatory affairs more than 10 years ago," said BIOCOM President and CEO Joe Panetta. "This grant provides an opportunity to continue to build the homegrown workforce that we need in Southern California, while helping veterans and displaced workers move into skilled, high paying jobs that help this region continue as a hub of innovation that saves lives," Panetta said.

Fifteen industry members wrote letters of support for this grant application. As partners, these companies are committed to providing internships, on-the-job training, apprenticeships and employment.

"A partnership between industry and academia is essential for the proper training of the current workforce, and building the future workforce, in order for Southern California to maintain its global prominence as a life sciences hub," said Pete Leddy, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Life Technologies in Carlsbad. Leddy, who is an industry advisor to the CSU Professional Masters Program, said: "The initiatives in the BRIDGE Program will enable industry partners to provide opportunities for some of the best and brightest minds interested in such cutting-edge life science fields such as bioinformatics."

The program will be administered jointly through the San Diego State University College of Sciences and College of Extended Studies.

About San Diego State University

San Diego State University is the oldest and largest higher education institution in the San Diego region. Since it was founded in 1897, the university has grown to offer bachelor's degrees in 84 areas, master's degrees in 76 areas and doctorates in 16 areas. SDSU's approximately 33,000 students participate in an academic curriculum distinguished by direct contact with faculty and an increasing international emphasis that prepares them for a global future. For more information, visit http://www.sdsu.edu. For information on its PSM for Veterans initiative, visit  http://www.neverstoplearning.net/military

About BIOCOM

BIOCOM represents more than 550 member companies in Southern California. The association focuses on initiatives that position the region's life science industry competitively on the world stage, and on the development and delivery of innovative products that improve health and quality of life. This includes initiatives in capital formation, public policy, workforce development, and member services. For more information please visit http://www.biocom.org.

About the BIOCOM Institute

With its support of scientific education and the continuous promotion of Southern California's world-class colleges and universities, the BIOCOM Institute encourages systemic change through collaboration and outreach. The mission of the BIOCOM Institute is to offer and advance education programs that increase science literacy and training.  For more information please visit http://www.biocominstitute.org.

About Miramar College

San Diego Miramar College, home to the Southern California Biotechnology Center, offers over 120 certificates, associate degrees, and comprehensive transfer programs to students transferring to University of California, California State Universities and private universities. Each semester, around 13,000 students of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds attend Miramar College classes. The College's mission is to prepare students to succeed in a changing world within an environment that values excellence in learning, teaching, innovation and diversity. For more information please visit http://www.sdmiramar.edu/index.asp

About San Diego Workforce Partnership

The San Diego Workforce Partnership, Inc. (SDWP) has been in operation since 1974, when a joint powers agreement between the City and the County of San Diego created what is now a nonprofit public benefit corporation. SDWP's mission is to foster economic growth and prosperity through education, training and lifelong learning. SDWP funds job training programs to benefit local employers, unemployed and recently laid-off adults, and at risk youth ages 14 to 21 and to meet the region's demand for qualified workers.  SDWP also studies and analyzes the local economy, identifying and disseminating important findings, trends and labor market needs. For more information please visit http://www.sandiegoatwork.org/

SOURCE BIOCOM



RELATED LINKS
http://www.biocom.org
http://www.sdsu.edu
http://www.sdmiramar.edu/index.asp
http://www.sandiegoatwork.org
http://www.biocominstitute.org

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