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Workforce Alliance Concludes Three-Year Biotech Training Program

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., Jan. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Workforce Alliance, the non- profit organization that manages job training programs in Palm Beach County, is closing a grant program that enabled over ninety professionals to upgrade their skills and prepare for employment in the life sciences and biotechnology-related industries over the past three years.

The Workforce Alliance's expiring Biotechnology Training Grant was funded by the U.S. Department of Labor's High Growth Job Training Initiative in 2004 for a three-year period that expired at the end of 2007. The program targeted professionals holding a BS degree in math or science who wished to earn certification in biotechnology and make a career move into the expanding job opportunities in Palm Beach County's biotechnology industry.

Kathryn Schmidt, President and Chief Executive Officer of Workforce Alliance, said, "As we sought this unsolicited grant almost four years ago, our objective was to develop a highly skilled workforce to support an expected influx of biotechnology and life sciences companies into our region. It has proven to be excellent foresight. The three-year program gave the region a head start in the search for skilled talent by the biotechnology and life sciences-related companies as they considered establishing themselves in our region."

In developing the proposal, Workforce Alliance established partnerships that are now continuing with Florida Atlantic University, Indian River Community College and biotechnology and life sciences employers in Palm Beach County. The group developed a curriculum to prepare the participants for a professional certification in biotechnology, and entree into a life sciences career field or job placement.

After 51 professionals enrolled in the program during its initial year, participation grew to 96 participants in 2007. Over the time span of the program, participants earned 54 certifications, six advanced certifications, a Master's degree, and twenty new job placements. The program influenced the establishment of a new biotechnology laboratory at Indian River Community College and significant laboratory and distance-learning upgrades at Florida Atlantic University. The grant also helped establish high quality biotechnology training for undergraduate students at both institutions to meet the demands of the growing industry in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.

Workforce Alliance, as the non-profit company chartered by the State of Florida to develop and manage a workforce system in Palm Beach County, is the local recipient of federal taxpayer dollars earmarked to ensure the availability of a skilled and qualified labor pool. It operates three Career Centers and Professional Placement Centers and offers its professional services to all employers and job seekers in the County.

SOURCE Workforce Alliance
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