"This program will help ensure our state has enough workers educated and trained for careers in the health and life sciences"
With an award of $12 million from the U.S. Department of Labor, seven of the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities (ConnSCU), governed by the Board of Regents for Higher Education, have partnered together to offer academic programs, training and job placement assistance to students through the Health-Life Sciences (HL-SCI) Initiative. Eastern Connecticut State University, Charter Oak State College, and Capital, Gateway, Middlesex, Manchester and Norwalk Community Colleges will work together on this initiative, to help educate and train residents for the 11,000 jobs expected to open in the health and life sciences field over the next eight years.
"This program will help ensure our state has enough workers educated and trained for careers in the health and life sciences — a particularly vibrant area of growth in our state," said Michele Barnett, Director of the Health-Life Sciences Initiative, which is coordinated through Norwalk Community College. "Because it's an initiative that was launched by the Board of Regents, we are truly able to reach out on a statewide basis."
For example, with funds provided by the grant, the Health and Life Sciences Initiative Summer Undergraduate Research Program —which runs from June 2 to July 12 — gives students an opportunity to gain critical knowledge of and experience with basic laboratory skills, while exposing them to job opportunities that will competitively position them in Connecticut's health and life sciences job market. Eastern Connecticut State University is serving as host of the six-week program, which includes 18 participants from six of the seven participating institutions.
Students work directly with Eastern faculty who teach and work in the health and life sciences fields. These fields include biochemistry, organic chemistry, biotechnology, biology, health education and environmental earth sciences. Each week will focus on an area of modern scientific inquiry, allowing students to gain scientific skills and knowledge.
"We are excited to offer such a great opportunity to undergraduate students in the health and life sciences fields," said Star Jackson, Eastern's curriculum and program coordinator for the health and life sciences grant. "Not only will students get hands-on research experience, but they will also be given many opportunities for personal, career and academic development. This will be an innovative learning experience that students are sure to remember.”
“I enjoy the experience of gaining lab skills from different disciplines of biology, from basic chemistry skills, to forensic science and chromatography techniques. This type of exposure is great for finding your niche in science,” said Gregory Riley, a program participant.
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Maribel La Luz