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PA Department of Labor & Industry Awards Wistar & Philadelphia Works with Grant to Enhance Workforce Training Program with Community College of Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA--(April 9, 2018)--The Wistar Institute, along with its partner Philadelphia Works, has been awarded an $85,000 Pre-Apprenticeship/Apprenticeship Grant by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry to enhance the workforce training program with Community College of Philadelphia (CCP). One of 61 grants awarded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to support pre-apprenticeships and apprenticeships, the initiative will further align resources to innovate and expand state-recognized education and workforce development strategies. 

"We would like to thank the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry for their generosity in awarding this Grant, which will support the development of a skilled and diverse biomedical labor force in Pennsylvania," said Brian Keith, Ph.D., Wistar Dean of Biomedical Studies. "Our longstanding Biomedical Technician Training Program provides trainees with the practical skills and scientific insight necessary to compete for, and succeed in, high-quality jobs as biomedical research assistants. By combining dedicated scientific mentors, a creative, custom curriculum and immersion training in active research laboratories, we create opportunities for a diverse and talented pool of Community College students to develop rewarding careers in biomedical research."

Funds received will support the Biomedical Technician Training (BTT) Program and further support the recently established Biomedical Research Technician (BRT) Apprenticeship.

In 2000, the BTT Program was created in partnership with CCP to reinforce the region's workforce with experienced lab technicians. Students complete the certificate program over the course of two summers through a combination of intensive classroom and lab skills training. Now, BTT Program graduates have the additional opportunity for further Apprenticeship training.

In 2017, the BRT Apprenticeship became the first registered, nontraditional biomedical research apprenticeship in the nation. Through additional coursework and extensive on-the-job training opportunities at Wistar and its partnering institutions, trainees hone and expand skillsets needed to design and perform experimental procedures, manage a laboratory and monitor lab safety, conduct data analysis on experiments, and other highly skilled techniques, with the goal of supporting a lead scientist in the laboratory. 
"Wistar and CCP realized more than two decades ago that the life sciences sector was a key industry for our region and developed a successful, collaborative, multidisciplinary educational program to train (and retain) highly skilled research lab technicians," said Donald Generals, Ed.D., president of the Community College of Philadelphia. "The state's funding of this program and the strong support of partners like Philadelphia Works reinforces the belief that workforce development is a priority in our region, and programs and apprenticeships like this one are a proven model for creating a talent pipeline with the specialized skills needed to gain entry into that flourishing life sciences workforce."

Wistar partnered with Philadelphia Works, the local Workforce Development Board that invests federal dollars into services to grow Philadelphia's economy and connect employers to workforce talent and career seekers with jobs, to be the sole agent to administer fiscal responsibilities.

"We are excited to be a partner and help propel Wistar's established workforce programs, which bolster our region's life sciences sector by offering transferable, highly-skilled STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) training and education to local residents," said H. Patrick Clancy, President and CEO of Philadelphia Works. "Apprenticeship programs like these prepare job seekers to pursue diverse and specialized career opportunities available now, and in the future."

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About The Wistar Institute
The Wistar Institute is an international leader in biomedical research with special expertise in cancer, immunology, infectious diseases and vaccine development. Founded in 1892 as the first independent nonprofit biomedical research institute in the United States, Wistar has held the prestigious Cancer Center designation from the National Cancer Institute since 1972. The Institute works actively to ensure that research advances move from the laboratory to the clinic as quickly as possible.

About Philadelphia Works
Philadelphia Works is the city's Workforce Development Board, investing in solutions and services to grow Philadelphia's economy by connecting employers to workforce talent and career seekers to jobs. We influence the public policies that support economic growth, and optimize funding and resources to invest in regional solutions to build a skilled and thriving workforce. For more information about our dedicated board members and staff, workforce research, labor market data, services and initiatives, and to view success stories, please visit 

About Community College of Philadelphia
Community College of Philadelphia is the largest public institution of higher education in Philadelphia and the sixth largest in Pennsylvania. The College enrolls approximately 34,000 students annually and offers day, evening, and weekend classes, as well as classes online. Visit the College at

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