By Kevin Koczwara, Worcester Business Journal
April 3, 2023
While the life science sector may be booming in Massachusetts, that does not mean it’s easy to find talent in the sector. Companies are not only competing to be the next big things, but they’re battling for skilled and qualified talent.
This is why Milford-based Rentschler Biopharma, Inc. teamed up with the Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation and Worcester Polytechnic Institute to launch a training program to jump into the field with classroom and onsite training. So far, the program has gone through two cohorts of students, and Rentschler has hired 10 for the company’s expanding Milford facility.
“The program gave us the opportunity to find talent educated in the industry,” said Mark Caswell, vice president and Milford site head for Rentschler Biopharma, which is headquartered in Germany. “This gives us the opportunity to expand our resource pool and for folks to transition into other industries.”
The apprenticeship program included eight weeks of MassBioEd curriculum and another eight weeks at WPI’s Biomanufacturing Education and Training Center to learn the fundamentals of biotech production. With that instruction, the apprentices jumped into the field and got jobs, and Rentschler hired qualified candidates to take on some of the technical jobs needed in the modern biomanufacturing field.
The German-arm of the company already has an apprentice program as well, which has allowed not only the training of talent but also the evaluation of potential employees before welcoming them into the Rentschler Biopharma family.
This is important for the company as it expands its Central Massachusetts footprint with a new 22,000-square-foot expansion to its facility in Milford, which is the biggest expansion in the company’s 151-year history.
Rentschler Biopharma is a contract development and manufacturing company, or CDMO, and provides drug development and manufacturing services to pharmaceutical companies. They partner on drug development and drug manufacturing. When it comes to hiring potential employees, the company has a set of specific jobs needing to be filled and a certain style of workflow to be adhered to, in order to keep things running smoothly and in conjunction with its partners. All of that takes time and training.
With the MassBioEd-WPI apprenticeship program, the company has found employees come prepared and know how to go about the work in the bioscience field. On top of that, the company has found apprentices feel a sense of pride in where and who they work for, and they stay with the company longer.
“They become part of the family,” Caswell said.
Rentschler Biopharma is evaluating the program, too, Caswell said, and seeing how it can evolve further to help the company meet greater ambitions.
- Overall Manufacturing Excellence: Wirefab, Inc.
- Best Collaboration Award: BMP Medical
- Manufacturing Champion: Yan Wang
- Rising Star: Multiscale Systems
- Green Manufacturing Award: VALIS
- Top Product Design & Innovation: FLEXcon Co., Inc.
- Workforce Development Award: Rentschler Biopharma, Inc.