On November 30, 2017, the Center for Career and Workforce Programs (CWP) partnered with Skyline College’s Biotechnology Program to host the “Biotechnology Educators Event: Stronger Pathways through High Quality Employer Engagement.” This event included faculty and counselors from local high schools, community college, middle schools as well as biotechnology industry representatives. The goal of the event is to create stronger pathways from our feeder high school programs to Skyline College and on to high paying careers.

Skyline College hosted this event at the newly built AC Hotel by Marriott located in South San Francisco/Oyster Point. The venue was selected because our “Industrial City” neighbor is considered the heart of Biotechnology for our entire country. The event was organized around three speakers, Terri Quenzer, Gregory Theyel, and Dean Ray Hernandez, who spoke to leading industry trends, high demand careers and educational programming updates.

Terri Quenzer, Sector Navigator for Life Sciences/Biotechnology from California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO) Division of Workforce and Economic Development spoke on the Chancellor’s Office status around collaboration between academia and industry for biotechnology. She also mentioned data from the annual report: “Life Sciences and Biotech Middle Skills Workforce in CA 2017”. With this report, participants learned that San Francisco has over 100K employees in biotechnology with an expected nine percent growth over the next five years.

Gregory Theyel, Program Director for the Easy Bay Biomedical Manufacturing Network spoke about his extensive research that highlighted high pockets of in-demand careers up and down the region where he surveyed biotechnology companies across the Bay Area. Like our weather he found that the Bay Area has specific micro climates of biotechnology companies that have a fast amount of talent needs. It was an interactive and highly engaging experience for participants to gain a clearer understanding of the various demands across company focus areas.

Ray Hernandez, Dean of Science, Math and Technology at Skyline College engaged participants in conversations that highlighted high school programming, community college and industry partnerships. He led a lively discussion with the group about how strengthening these partnerships will provide increased opportunities for students. Andrea Vizenor, Director of Career and Workforce Programs at Skyline College, discussed additional opportunities for expanded partnership in program development, industry engagement, and professional development for Spring 2018.

This event was made possible through the Strong Workforce Program and the National Science Foundation Grant. A special thank you to Dr. Nick Kapp the key program faculty for organizing the agenda, Career and Workforce Team Members Elizabeth Tablan, Claudia Paz, and Alexys Burns for handling meeting planning, logistics and event coordination and Rita Gulli for assisting with participant packets.

Article by Nick Kapp and Alexys Burns | Photo by Claudia Paz

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