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BioCommunique Article

The $12 million grant will help California bioscience employers develop their workforce pipeline through a proven and highly innovative apprenticeship model.

Los Angeles Biotech Community Receives Funding for Workforce Development

  • 2020-07-23T19:00:00.000+0000
  • Los Angeles
  • Author: SBWIB

Bioscience employers throughout California may now take advantage of training funds provided through a $12 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Awarded to the South Bay Workforce Investment Board (SBWIB)/West Los Angeles College collaborative with Biocom Institute as an instrumental partner, this grant provides funding to help develop your biotech/biomanufacturing workforce pipeline and to upskill or cross-train current employees.

Take advantage of the "Scaling Apprenticeship Through Sector-Based Strategies” grant, your strategic business plan for training and development benefits from a proven, highly innovative, and non-traditional pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship model. Employers see higher retention rates, while the candidate realizes a true career pathway. Per person training costs of up to $1,500 may be reimbursed to participating employers. Companies with their qualified internal apprenticeship programs may be included.

The SBWIB’s Bio-Flex Initiative was established in 2018, led by Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas as part of a regional effort to support Los Angeles County’s vison to become a global leader in Bioscience. The Supervisor provided a $100,000 seed grant with additional funding from other partners and resources.

Our initial task was to bring together a diverse Advisory Board with leaders from multiple sectors-incubator to manufacturing, along with education and industry organizations to determine skill gaps and priority occupations; then to vet the development of Bio-Flex Pre-Apprenticeship and Apprenticeships. From the start, we have centered our outreach to potential candidates who might otherwise have challenges in accessing career opportunities in this vibrant, well-paying, strong career pathway industry.

Bio-Flex Apprenticeships may be customized to individual employer's needs and/or current training/hiring strategies; whether an exploratory pre-apprenticeship where hiring is not required; utilizing full apprenticeship; and-or combining the two where the employer/pre-apprentice relationship wants to expand. SBWIB handles the administrative paperwork, allowing the employers to focus on their business objectives.

The SBWIB has over 1,000 slots for apprentice enrollments and reimbursement, open to companies throughout California and, in a case by case basis, nationwide. Eligible occupations include those in Bioscience, Advanced Manufacturing, Aerospace, and related IT.

Bio-Flex Registered Apprenticeships include great middle-skill occupations: Bio Manufacturing Technician and Bio Maintenance-Equipment Technician. We soon will register Quality Assurance Technician and Lyophilizer-Mechanical Engineering Technician.

As an employer-driven program, other ‘in-need’ occupations may be added. The acquisition of multiple grants allows funding and support for up to four years—plenty of time to onboard, collaborate, and benefit.

For further information on how employers can participate contact Deborah Shepard, Special Projects Career Pathways Coordinator, at 310-970-7700, [email protected] or [email protected].