Today, the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities (CSCU) and The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) will formalize a partnership to train and prepare students for careers in bioscience and biotechnology. The partnership establishes the “Genomics Workforce Institute” with the goal of promoting professional development, faculty collaboration, hands-on training for students, curriculum development and direct access to potential employers.
This partnership builds on the organizations’ successful collaboration on a pilot program funded primarily through a $12M U.S. Department of Labor grant to create new and revise existing health and life sciences programs across the country. Grant funding for the program ended this year, and JAX has agreed to continue and enhance the program and partnership with CSCU.
“I truly appreciate all the hard work that was done by the staff, faculty, students and JAX in creating this partnership and developing it into the success it has become today,” said CSCU President Mark Ojakian. “Our students will certainly benefit from the hands-on training and commitment from everyone involved and JAX will benefit by having access to highly-skilled potential employees right here in Connecticut.”
“At JAX, we recognize the reservoir of talent within the CSCU system, and we are committed to connecting student aspirations with workforce development needs across the state,” said Edison Liu, M.D., president and CEO of JAX, an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institution. “Through this partnership, JAX will share our knowledge of advancements in biomedical science, our understanding of career options for science trainees at many different educational levels, and our attendant curricular offerings to meet the needs of tomorrow’s workforce.”
The CSCU/JAX Genomics Workforce Institute initiative includes:
- An annual career forum hosted by JAX to promote direct interaction between students and CT employers
- Two slots for selected CSCU faculty to attend a five-day course providing attendees with the most up-to-date information about molecular genetics, bioethics and teaching techniques
- Outreach to high school students through established community programs such as Gear Up and Bridges to Success to inform teachers, counselors and school staff about the program
- Participation by JAX on advisory boards for consistent and continued curriculum development for CSCU schools, offering biotech courses or paths at the biotechnology programs of schools including Middlesex, Capital, and Naugatuck Valley Community College, and Southern Connecticut State University’s Bio-Path program
- Internships in the area of genomics and computational biology for students from CSCU member institutions
- Subject matter experts provided by CSCU to JAX to provide content, case studies, business plan development and other support, as needed
- Collaboration to identify new funding for all 17 CSCU institutions to participate in workforce development
Bioscience Careers Forum
The Memorandum of Understanding will be signed at the partnership’s Bioscience Careers Forum on Friday, May 5 from 12-5 p.m. at The Jackson Laboratory, 10 Discovery Drive, Farmington, CT.
Over 140 students registered to attend the program, which will include introductory remarks from Senator Bob Duff (D-Norwalk), majority leader of the Connecticut State Senate; an introduction from Jane McBride Gates, provost and senior vice president academic and student affairs, CSCU; a keynote address about diversity in science from Doris Arrington, dean of student services, Capital Community College; brief remarks from Edison T. Liu, president and CEO, JAX and Mark E. Ojakian, president, CSCU.
The forum will also include a panel discussion regarding scientific career options, featuring:
- Todd E. Arnold, Ph.D., managing director, Mount Sinai Genetic Testing Laboratory
- Josh Geballe, VP, general manager, Thermo Fisher Scientific
- Usha Pillai, Ph.D., PMP, founder and president, Aria Management Consulting, LLC
- Elizabeth Lewis Roberts, Ph.D., associate professor, Southern Connecticut State University
- Cleo Rolle, Ph.D., assistant professor and program coordinator of biology, Capital Community College
- Moderated by Melanie Sinche, director of education, The Jackson Laboratory
In addition, the event will feature a networking opportunity for students and employers, and an instructional session to help students create an individual career development plan.
For more information about the event, visit: https://goo.gl/FSxzY1
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