Kitty and Dr Ying-Tsu Loh in front of our posters highlighting grants that support our skyline Students in Biomanufacturing

Our grant with the NSF ATE program called BioSCOPE provides the opportunity for Faculty and Students to travel to Washington DC in October to participate in an annual conference. This year’s conference “Reconnecting & Advancing the Skilled Technical Workforce” was held at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington DC. The opening plenary Session was Scott Barry Kaufman a Cognitive Scientist from the Center for the Science of Human Potential who’s talk “Choose Growth-Preparing Students for a Post-Pandemic World” was very enjoyable and made us think about the ways that we measure intelligence and award credit for classes taken. It invigorated us to think about how we measure and asses learning in our classes. The Closing Plenary session was titled “Preparing Students for a Post-Pandemic Workforce, a collaborative Approach” was given by Allyson Knox Senior Director of Education Policy and Programs at Microsoft. In this talk she discussed how private companies like Microsoft are working with Federal and Local governments to support the education of Cyber-Security professionals at the Community College. We found her talk fascinating because you can get a 2-year degree and work as an Engineer for a company like Microsoft yet many Government and Academic panels state that only individuals with a 4-year degree can be “Engineers”.    

The main purpose of this conference is to meet with and collaborate with other programs within our space as well as see if we can work synergistically with other programs. In our program we work with the Laney College Biomanufacturing program as well as BABEC (A local Biotech Nonprofit), to give real world work experience to students making consumables for the Biotechnology laboratory. We are excited to work on both the federal and local level to be involved with creating Micro credentialling for our students, in order for them to have a proof of their Biomanufacturing Skills. We are partnering with other Schools, industry and National Centers like Innovate Bio to develop Skills standards for Biomanufacturing. Lastly, we hope to partner with NSF programs and state programs to offer On-the-Job training and apprenticeships in biomanufacturing.    

V. Celeste Carter, the Lead ATE Program Director of the national Science Foundation says that there has never been a better time than now for these programs to occur. With the CHIPS and Science act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the federal government is spending money to help create and support programs like BioSCOPE and SkyBayTech-Meeting the Bay Area’s Electronic Technician Workforce Need.   Skyline Faculty are working towards these grants and awards that will help support our students and bring our teaching and STEM education into this new Post Pandemic world where we can learn and work both virtually and in the lab.

Article by Nick Kapp 

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