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MBI Workforce Challenge Grants fund programs that increase the diversity of the life sciences workforce

Worcester, MA (February 9, 2023) – Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives (MBI), the longest-running life sciences incubator in the Commonwealth, announced today that MassBioEd received a 2022 Workforce Challenge Grant. MBI’s Workforce Challenge Grants help fund programs that increase the diversity of the life sciences workforce while also solving the industry’s future workforce needs. MassBioEd received funding to support the continuation and expansion of its Biomanufacturing Technician Apprenticeship program and a new Laboratory Support Specialist program that consists of seven months of education and eight months of on-the-job training.

“The work MassBioEd is doing is vital to ensuring a healthy, vibrant, and diverse life sciences workforce,” said Jon Weaver, President and CEO of MBI. “The focus of MBI’s Challenge Grants is to help create opportunities for new and diverse populations to join the growing industry.”

MBI welcomed all Challenge Grant recipients to its 17 Briden Street facility in Worcester to meet other recipients, create opportunity for connection and collaboration amongst recipients, and for recipients to tour of the facility and meet the emerging life sciences companies that reside at MBI. Recipients also received a certificate from State Representative John Mahoney (D-Worcester).

“Central Massachusetts has a vibrant and growing life sciences industry. It’s vital that we are preparing the workforce to be able to hit the ground running to meet those needs,” said Marcie Laden, Senior Director of Development and Marketing at MassBioEd. “We are grateful to MBI for helping us make the connection with industry so that we can design programs that meet their needs and for supporting that programming through the Workforce Challenge Grants.”

A report from CBRE titled Life Sciences Research Talent 2022 ranked Worcester the 15th best market in the US for life sciences research talent and Boston/ Cambridge as #1. In addition, MassBio predicts that 40,000 new Life Science jobs will be created by 2024. As a result, there is a growing need for programs that assess future job opportunities and generate certificates that align with the minimum requirements for employment within the industry. 

Workforce Challenge Grants reimburse recipients for program funding spent during the 2023 calendar year. Recipients are eligible to reapply for funding for the next calendar year.

Increasing Diversity in STEM Challenge Grant recipients:

  • Quinsigamond Community College: Funding will support diversification in STEM through accessible early college courses, youth exposure to STEM and STEM careers, and adult learning programs.
  • Worcester State University: Funding will support STEM Enrichment through hands on experience for middle and high schoolers, adult learners, and families.
  • Mass Academy of Math and Science: Funding will support the free Creative Engineering and Design afterschool program for elementary and middle school students.

Other Workforce Challenge Grant recipients:

  • Quinsigamond Community College: Funding will support a new 18-hour, stand-alone cell culture module that will be added to the existing 10-week Biomanufacturing Technician program.
  • Massachusetts Life Sciences Center: Funding will support the MassNextGen program which supports life science entrepreneurs.

Photos available upon request


About Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives

MBI is the longest running life sciences incubator in the Commonwealth. MBI’s mission is to be a partner for fostering innovation in the life sciences by helping companies bring lifesaving products to patients, create jobs, and promote economic development in Central MA and throughout the Commonwealth. It is estimated that since 2000, MBI has assisted over 175 companies that have created over 1,025 jobs and raised over $1,000,000,000.


About MassBioEd Foundation

The MassBioEd Foundation (MassBioEd) is a 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit organization. Its mission is to build a sustainable life sciences workforce in the region through educational programs that engage and excite teachers, inspire and propel students, and illuminate the pathway from the classroom to careers with a focus on expansion, opportunity, and diversity.