This is the kind of business-education partnership that will keep the biotechnology-biomedical industry growing in our state," said Ruth Scott, President of the Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association. "Continuous
development of the knowledge and skills of employees is essential to the competitive position of our member companies. This training will help us make the state industry skill standards real by helping to fill in the skill gaps of the current workforce."

Laptop and book.

Press Release

September 2001

Biotech Companies and Educators Develop
Career Ladders for Lab Technicians

A group of Seattle area biotechnology and biomedical companies has been working with a local community college and a non-profit training organization to develop upgrade training for entry-level laboratory technicians to promote career development. Starting this fall, a series of upgrade short courses will be offered at Shoreline Community College through the financial support of the Puget Sound Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology in Bothell. The three-year-old Puget Sound Center provides technology training for businesses, educators, and the general public, and has developed the biotech short-course program through its U.S. Department of Labor-funded Future-Ready Workforce Project.


There are ten courses in the series offered from September 2001 through April, 2002:

  1. Biotech Regulatory Environment:
    Introduction to Good Manufacturing Practices, Quality Assurance/Quality Control, and Food and Drug Administration Regulations
  2. GMP for Biotechnology, Intermediate
  3. QA/QC for Biotechnology, Intermediate
  4. FDA Regulations for Biotechnology, Intermediate
  5. Separation of Molecules/ Chromatography
  6. High Performance Liquid Chromatography, Intermediate
  7. Applied Math for Biotechnology
  8. Cloning/Expression Theory
  9. Cloning/Expression Lab
  10. Flow Cytometry

The federal demonstration grant has allowed the Puget Sound Center to develop the training to employer specifications. Biotech workers employed by companies with under 500 workers have priority for the limited class space. A group of 13 biotech companies that had been working with Shoreline Community College previously on skill standards for entry-level technicians formed the learning consortium that developed the training specifications. Instructors for each of the courses are either industry professionals or college biotechnology faculty.

John Lederer, Manager of the project at the Puget Sound Center notes that, "in addition to the surveying and consultation of consortium members that was done to identify industry training needs, we have directed about $80,000 in demonstration grant resources to cover the cost of equipment, curriculum development, and instruction. That's why the course fees are so low. Once these funds are expended, we plan to keep offering the training as regular Shoreline credit-bearing courses or continuing education. The grant dollars help develop and market the training. It reduces the risk to the college of developing new offerings by providing advanced market development."

The companies that helped develop the training can already see its value potential before it has begun. “We used to send our people to California for flow cytometry training at substantial expense. Now we can send them to Shoreline for a fraction of the cost," observed Andy Nelson of Zymogenetics. "This is the type of training support we have been looking for from local colleges."

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