In this virtual event held by the Chamber of Commerce, Wistar’s Associate Dean of Biomedical Studies Dr. David Zuzga spoke about workforce development and the value of apprenticeship programs at the Chamber of Commerce virtual event “Finding Emerging Talent in STEM”.
On April 20, 2022, the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia hosted a virtual event reviewing how to address challenges in recruiting and training a STEM workforce. Guest speakers included our Associate Dean of Biomedical Studies Dr. David Zuzga who spoke about strengthening the STEM workforce through education and apprenticeship opportunities such as Wistar’s Biotechnician Training (BTT) Program.
Attracting and retaining STEM talent in the workforce, especially in an increasingly informationally complex and interdisciplinary world, has been a challenge faced by employers and educational institutions alike. As Philadelphia grows into a leading life sciences hub, developing and retaining STEM talent is at the forefront of workforce development initiatives.
Zuzga commented on the advantages of an integrated approach to traditional education with workforce training. He highlighted Wistar’s BTT program which collaborates with Community College of Philadelphia to provide a laboratory orientation boot camp where participants work on authentic Wistar research projects and are then matched with summer internships in academic and industry settings.
“There is a transformation in the program’s participants. It’s remarkable to be so connected to an employer-partner and provide that type of value in a nontraditional program.” said Zuzga. He continues, “It’s essential for employers to begin engaging with educational institutions to better inform the type of competencies they are looking for in a successful workforce.” Zuzga explains that as employers collaborate with training providers to address lab skills that are more specific and relevant, they are creating more value for participants as they receive training more transferable to STEM careers.