Philadelphia biomedical research firm granted $250K for workforce training

Officials said the funds will help address the critical need to boost a skilled labor force in Philadelphia as the life sciences industry grows.

The Wistar Institute will use the grant funds for its apprenticeship programs. (6abc)

The Wistar Institute will use the grant funds for its apprenticeship programs. (6abc)

A Philadelphia-based biomedical research firm has been awarded a quarter-million dollars in federal grant money for one of its apprenticeship programs.

The nonprofit Wistar Institute says the money will help train 30 students over two years, who are part of its Quality Science Pathway Apprenticeship program. The program offers hands-on training by experts from the region to address the critical need for a skilled science labor force in the city as the industry booms.

The grant money comes from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, which on Thursday announced its grant recipients through the Administration’s STEM Talent Challenge.

In total, the EDA is awarding $2 million over eight grants across the nation to support science and technology programs.

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In Philadelphia, the funding is expected to help address a gap in higher education and training programs as the region’s growing life sciences industry is increasingly looking for qualified workers.

Many of the students involved in Wistar’s program are students at Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, the oldest HBCU in the country.

“Its announcements like these that make me particularly proud and excited for the future of our region, for our city, and setting up the potential for the growth of our talented workforce in the future,” said Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney.

He said the federal grants represent an opportunity as the city and the region continue to recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic.

“The life science and innovation ecosystem is booming in Philadelphia and all across the commonwealth,” he continued. “Cell and gene therapy companies are starting up and growing right here in Philadelphia and the surrounding area, and there is a major demand for more lab technicians and quality science expertise, as well as other biomedical and bio technical expertise right now for our pipelines.”

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