Community Colleges and Biotechnolology

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Community Colleges and Biotechnolology--be afraid

Postby A. Sam » Fri Feb 11, 2005 9:45 pm

I don't think of myself as a fear monger and I do believe in the biotech industry. And yes, I recognize somehow people find jobs eventually. My question is, and maybe this should be a different thread, how are we to reconcile the difficulty we and everyone we know and so many of the posters here have all had at some point in finding work with those who say we need to train more people for the jobs? I have no doubt that the schools can do a great job at training and the companies can rant and rave about the quality of the graduates. But does ranting and raving come with a job offer? How do you justify the need for more graduates when we all have a huge stack of stellar resumes from unemployed people who we can't hire and don't even know where to recommend them to? Am I missing something?
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Community Colleges and Biotechnolology--be afraid

Postby Kim » Sat Feb 12, 2005 7:09 am

"Yes, a Community College or some school in Des Moines, IA, pumping out Biotech grads that have nowhere to go after their schooling is just plain outrageous. Especially because those kinds of graduates want to stay in their COMMUNITY and not get relocated to the bay area."

I think some people believe that it is the question of egg vs chicken. I have met a school official from in the middle of nowhere. She insisted that there is no biotech in her home state because the pool of available local talents is small. So, her home state cannot attract biotech. If they can train their work forces to work in biotech, biotech companies will relocate to her home state in droves.

Although I disagreed with her, I did not argue with her at that time. The arguement would not go anywhere. Some people strongly believe that "if you build, people will come". It is the same mentality that the City of Los Angeles spent a fortune building a subway with no passenger.
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Community Colleges and Biotechnolology--be afraid

Postby Dave Jensen » Sat Feb 12, 2005 12:26 pm


I'm not trying to hype the biotech industry. They do enough of their own hyping so that others don't need to pitch in.

However, to bring this around to the thread topic again, I don't think you fully understand the value of the Community College. Sure, once again, they can't do this in Brookings SD, but if the school is in a major area like San Diego, Boston, San Francisco, etc, than they can help with that large pool of people you are talking about. For example, a guy who is now a manufacturing supervisor at Amgen was unemployed and surfing, when he decided to hit the Biomanufacturing class at Moorpark College. That got him in the door. There are thousands of people who retrain themselves -- at incredibly low prices -- within Community Colleges.

United Airlines sent a whole bunch of laid off baggage handlers -- people who all had degrees of some kind, but not in the biosciences -- to the Skyline College program for biotechnology. To date, 95 people have completed this program, 63% have placed in internships and 47% have been converted to full time at companies that include Genentech.

To a community, that service is valuable. And to the employers, they have people trained with hands-on skills in their equipment that they won't have to relocate because they already live in the community.

One last comment . . . Community Colleges are located all over the world. They are a major ingredient in local economic engines that help build the economic health of regions. One fellow, originally from Germany, told me that he began his career in biotechnology at a Community College. He is now a Senior Director or VP at Nektar Therapeutics, one of the big companies in Northern CA.

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Community Colleges and Biotechnolology

Postby Lora » Sat Feb 12, 2005 4:37 pm

Wow! Big difference. The reason I ask about the software is, quite apart from waiting for a software learning curve, most of the data capture software gets bought by QA and managers *because* they can't get staff to work consistently to GMP--at least, that's how it's been at most places I've seen that have spent the zillions of $$ on it. The automatic data capture and report generation systems like NuGenesis circumvent a lot of stress and frustration, on top of minimizing auditing hassles--all human errors that no amount of training seems to rectify.

I've seen the Moorpark biotech curriculum, it's pretty extensive. Other schools that advertise biotech majors seem to have only a couple semesters spent on ethics of biotech, and seem shallow. Would that all schools had soft skills training...

Thanks for the update!

Community Colleges and Biotechnolology

Postby Emil Chuck » Wed Feb 16, 2005 4:16 pm

It's interesting that you point this out. Among the news of the week is the reallocation of federal funds to de-emphasize support for the vocational/technical education track (Perkins Act) to extend the No Child Left Behind provisions.

If you have a subscription to the Chronicle for Higher Education: . Also a local article (Raleigh News and Observer) on vocational education at the high school level: .
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