BioNJ Joins Effort to Bring Life Science Education, Workforce Training and Entrepreneurship to the National Stage

BOSTON (June 20, 2012)-BioNJ, the trade association for New Jersey’s thriving biotechnology industry, has joined 40 other state bioscience organizations in a nationally coordinated effort to ensure that the United States will continue its global leadership in bioscience innovation by developing and delivering industry-led life science education, workforce development and entrepreneurship programs across the county.

BioNJ has signed on to be a member of this newly established group – the Coalition of Bioscience Institutes (CSBI). The formation of CSBI was announced at the 2012 BIO International Convention, the industry’s global event for biotechnology that is hosted by the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO).

“As an advocate for the biotechnology industry in New Jersey, BioNJ is dedicated to contributing to an environment that will help our current companies grow and encourage new companies to come to New Jersey,” said Debbie Hart, President of BioNJ. “BioNJ’s affiliation with the CSBI will assure that New Jersey is linked to innovative industry training programs developed around the United States. This is great news for our State, and great news for America.”

Hart noted that workforce development will be a key focus of this new initiative, dovetailing nicely with the work that BioNJ is already doing through its Life Sciences Talent Network.

BioNJ’s Life Sciences Talent Network is an initiative funded by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development that, among many other initiatives, enables BioNJ to provide an array of valuable services to industry employers and professionals looking to connect, as well as resources to students considering a career in the sciences. LSTN connects New Jersey’s professionals with careers in biotech, pharma, medical device, medical diagnostics and clinical operations. The LSTN supports employers with talent acquisition and recruitment, talent pipeline development, employee transition services and educational resources.

CSBI to Leverage Resources Across the US

“CSBI is leveraging resources across the U.S, including the iBIO’s Institutes’ current programs, to speak with a united voice for the biotech industry on life science education, workforce development and entrepreneurship,” said CSBI acting co-chair, Lance Hartford, Executive Director MassBioEd. “We focus on programs that the life science industry is uniquely positioned to deliver and can be replicated across many states and scaled-up nationally.”

Currently, CSBI is identifying leading state programs for national consideration. These programs include teacher-training initiatives, workforce competitiveness programs including Oregon Bioscience Association’s BioPro and BIOCOM Institute’s BioCollaborative; and BayBio Institute’s Expert Network startup resource for entrepreneurs. CSBI is also designing a web-based clearinghouse of all current state-level programs focused on life science education, workforce training and entrepreneurship.

Working together since December 2011, CSBI serves as an umbrella for standard practice sharing, joint fundraising and national initiatives for life science (STEM) education (student education, career exploration and teacher professional development); workforce development (workforce training, incumbent worker professional development, dislocated worker training); and entrepreneurship. CSBI provides the opportunity for state bioscience organizations to share knowledge with the goal of improving bioscience education and innovation, while maximizing industry support. With its focus in these areas, the CSBI complements the life science policy work of the Council of State Bioscience Associations, formed by the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) in 2002.

CSBI founding organizations include BayBio Institute, BIOCOM Institute, the Biotechnology Institute, BioNJ, KansasBio, MassBioEd, MdBio Foundation and the Oregon Bioscience Association. A total of 41 state bioscience organizations are CSBI members with nine (9) additional groups expected to join. The Coalition is co-chaired by BayBio Institute Executive Director Lori Lindburg and MassBioEd Executive Director Lance Hartford. The Biotechnology Institute serves as CSBI’s administrative organization. By partnering, CSBI members bring unprecedented access to programs, facilitate national communication, and connect an extensive network of industry professionals.