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Workforce Alliance Receives U.S. Labor Department's Excellence Award

Honor presented at National Department of Labor Conference

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., July 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Workforce Alliance received the U.S. Department of Labor's Recognition of Excellence Award in the category of "Educating America's Workforce to Serve Emerging Industries." Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training, Brent R. Orrell, presented the annual award which honors workforce investment programs from around the country that have achieved outstanding success.

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"Workforce Alliance has taken the initiative in equipping workers with the specialized skills they need to pursue careers in biotechnology," said Orrell. "Workforce Alliance's accomplishments are instructive for others preparing workers in biotech and other emerging fields."

After receiving the award, Workforce Alliance President and CEO, Kathryn Schmidt, said "I offer my sincere appreciation and congratulations to the many members of the Workforce Alliance team who worked very hard to develop and implement this outstanding training program. It has brought many benefits to the employers and job seekers of our region as well as national recognition to our organization."

Workforce Alliance Board Chairman, Randy Johnson, the Biotech Program Coordinator, Doug Saenz, and a graduate of the program who is now a researcher for Scripps Florida, Ruben Garcia-Ordonez, accepted the award from the U.S. Department of Labor on behalf of the organization.

The Biotechnology Training Program was initiated in 2004 when Workforce Alliance obtained grant funding in the amount of $2.3 million from the Department of Labor. The grant funded a partnership with regional educators and employers and the establishment of a certificate-granting program and opportunities for a career ladder in biotechnology. Through this program, which concluded at the end of 2007, participants learned the skills needed to enter careers in the growing biotech industry in Palm Beach County and the surrounding regions.

Nearly one hundred participants entered the training, a partnership with Florida Atlantic University, Indian River Community College, and biotechnology employers in Palm Beach County. Fifty-six earned bioscience certificates, six earned advanced bioscience certificates and three are now pursuing master's degrees. Many of the graduates are now employed in bioscience and research positions at such locations as Scripps Florida, the Florida Department of Health, Palm Beach Cancer Institute, Molecular MD and others.

The Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration established the Recognition of Excellence Award in the category, "Educating America's Workforce to Serve Emerging Industries" to recognize innovative and valuable approaches to train workers to compete in environments that demand high levels of education and proficiency.

The Workforce Alliance program influenced the establishment 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 is chartered by the State of Florida to develop and manage a workforce system in Palm Beach County and serves as the leading human resource solution contributing to the economic growth of Palm Beach County. It provides employment, recruiting, training and other related services for local employers and job seekers through three Career Center locations, its professional placement network and a mobile training/recruiting unit. For further information or to view a video on the Biotech Training Program, visit

SOURCE Workforce Alliance
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