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Biotech Connect Program Aims to Bring New, Diverse Audience to Biotechnology Field

Hudson Valley Community College and the Capital District Educational Opportunity Center (CDEOC) are partnering with Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (ACPHS) to bring a new and diverse audience to the career fields of biotechnology and biomanufacturing.

The Biotech Connect program, which began recently with a four-day introductory workshop at HVCC South in Albany, is a way to introduce individuals in the community to the Capital Region’s rapidly growing biomanufacturing and life sciences sector. The program is sponsored by the Stack Family Center for Biopharmaceutical Education and Training at ACPHS.

Specifically, the program hopes to recruit post-secondary-GED/high school graduates, women, people of color and refugees into a field that has been growing steadily in the Capital Region for decades.

“The goals of the Biotech Connect program are to increase awareness of the field, especially among those in the community who may not have been exposed to this career path,” said Hudson Valley Associate Professor Donna Barron, who is helping teach the workshop. “This four-day workshop provides an introduction to some of the concepts, tools and skills in biotech and biomanufacturing. Ultimately, we are trying to find people in the community who could see this as a viable career and who may eventually enroll at Hudson Valley and then go on to ACPHS.”

Hudson Valley President Roger Ramsammy, who earned a Ph.D. in molecular biology and was a faculty member in the life sciences for several decades, said he is excited by the prospect of bringing a new and diverse audience to this growing career field. “The Biotech Connect program is a fantastic example of collaboration that will ultimately benefit not only the community members who take advantage of this opportunity, but also the region’s vibrant biotechnology industry. The more we can drive interest in these career paths, the better off our community and our local economy will be.”
About a dozen community members were at the first three-hour session run by Hudson Valley and ACPHS faculty. There is no cost associated with the program, and dinner is provided to participants thanks to funding and support from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. Future sessions may be scheduled for the coming year.

Earlier this year, Hudson Valley announced a new partnership with ACPHS to build an educational pipeline for biomanufacturing. The two institutions signed a direct transfer pathway that allows Hudson Valley’s Biotechnology associate degree students to seamlessly transfer into an ACPHS bachelor’s program in microbiology or pharmaceutical sciences and potentially a master’s degree from ACPHS in biomanufacturing and bioprocessing.

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