California Biomanufacturing Center Awarded ARPA Grant to Train Biotechnology Workforce


VACAVILLE, Calif., Oct. 10, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The California Biomanufacturing Center said the City of Vacaville awarded it a two-year, $750,000 grant through funding provided under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to retrain displaced workers and provide skilled training for new workers.

The City Council of Vacaville identified the California Biomanufacturing Center’s Rapid Alternative Medtech Pathway (RAMP) as an economic recovery priority for the funding through APRA. RAMP includes an industry-driven curriculum, industry matchmaking and placement, job fairs, and community recruitment. The format is consistent with national policy frameworks and best practices.

“Biotechnology remains one of few industries experiencing a hiring crisis. There are not enough trained people to fill available biotech jobs,” said Matt Gardner, board president of the California Biomanufacturing Center. “These jobs are sought after because they are stable, low turnover, high wage, and lead to further opportunities.”

The CBC RAMP program features rapid-response training to help people transition to non-scientific jobs essential to the biotech industry. These include HVAC, facilities, operations, supply chain, loading dock, procurement, office management, and related support positions, none of which require biology degrees. Initially, this program would recruit participants who lost jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic in fields including retail, restaurant, and service sectors with an emphasis on the retooling of workers to careers in high wage / high skill industries. The program will also serve new workers entering the workforce as a pathway out of poverty to underserved communities.

RAMP will provide scaffolded instruction allowing students to continuously gain knowledge and skills as they progress through the program and courses available to them in this three-step career pathway. The model is consistent with the structure of other continuing education programs and recognizes that students may move from the program into jobs at any point or choose to continue their education beyond RAMP by entering degree programs offered at Solano Community College; the University of California, Davis; or California State University system.

“The hardest part for anybody seeking a new career is making the choice to take that first step. There is an entire community out here committed to your success,” said Michael Silva, a member of the Vacaville City Council and professor of Biotechnology and Biological Sciences at Solano Community College. “You just have to choose.”

People interested in applying to RAMP must submit an online application by going to https://biomanufacturing.us/ramp. The application process is designed to establish proof of residency, commitment to learning, and interest in the field. All applications are reviewed by a combination of RAMP staff and the CBC Industry Advisory Board Members for interest, fit with the program, and potential to be placed.

The program is open to residents of Vacaville and surrounding counties. Anyone 18 or older with a GED or high school equivalency diploma, high school students who will graduate in 2024, displaced workers, and those seeking employment are eligible to apply for a training pathway.

People interested in enrolling in the RAMP program or learning more about it are invited to attend the California Biomanufacturing Center’s EXPO 2023 on Wednesday, October 11, 2023, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Solano College’s Vacaville Campus.

“The biotechnology sector is growing in our region, and it is essential that we prepare the workforce to meet the demand so it can continue to thrive here,” added Gardner. “By allocating ARPA funds to retraining displaced workers and people entering the workforce, we have the opportunity to not only ensure the health of the industry, and that the broad community benefits from its success.”

About the California Biomanufacturing Center
The California Biomanufacturing Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization supporting industry development, workforce, and training. It also leads the BioProcess to Product Network (BioP2P), a national initiative working to identify capacity and help biomanufacturers accelerate the process of expanding biomanufacturing from pilot to commercial scale. More information can be found at www.biomanufacturing.net.



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