Los Angeles County launched a new program to train hundreds of new workers for the rapidly growing bioscience industry.
The Bio-Flex Initiative offers pre-apprenticeships and registered apprenticeships that could lead to employment opportunities in some of the County’s leading bioscience companies, such as Bachem, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Takeda, and many more.
“We know that talent is evenly distributed but opportunity is not,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who helped fund the development of Bio-Flex. “My goal in supporting Bio-Flex is to ensure that we partner with industry so that everyone who has a dream and the commitment to enter this bold and dynamic bioscience industry has the opportunity to do so.”
Los Angeles County Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services (WDACS) also provided funding for Bio-Flex participant training. The South Bay Workforce Investment Board (SBWIB), meanwhile, is coordinating program development and implementation.
“We are very excited to be a partner with the Supervisor in his effort to make LA County a significant hub for bioscience,” said SBWIB Executive Director Jan Vogel. “We are prepared to do our part in preparing the local workforce to take advantage of these exciting employment opportunities.”
Bio-Flex will support a regional network of partners that will ensure employment opportunities in bioscience are widely available to all. Initial partners include Biocom, the LA Economic Development Corporation, the Center for a Competitive Workforce, and many colleges and universities. In collaboration with those partners, Bio-Flex aims to create a flexible yet structured career pathway for high school graduates and college level students, veterans, underserved populations, new hires and incumbent workers who might otherwise have challenges accessing this industry.
Bio-Flex will provide workforce readiness training, industry-specific occupational skills and work-based learning experiences. The program is designed to culminate in an industry-recognized career credential.
Bioscience is one of the fastest-growing industries in the County, employing more than 230,000 people with an average annual wage of more than $72,000 in 2017, according to a report by Biocom, an advocate for California’s life science sector, serving members across industries in pharmaceuticals, medical devices, biotech, digital health and more.
“Employers in the bioscience industry in Los Angeles cite finding the right talent as one of their toughest challenges,” said Dina Lozofsky, executive director of Biocom’s Los Angeles office. “It’s great to see the County funding initiatives to address this issue, as well as providing more career opportunities to Angelenos in this growing industry.”
Job opportunities are opening up for young and semi-skilled workers, as well as for scientists and entrepreneurs. According to a 2018 study by the Coalition of State Biosciences Institute, more than 25 percent of jobs in bioscience do not require a bachelor’s or advanced degree.
Supervisor Ridley-Thomas has consistently supported the growth of the bioscience industry, including championing the launch of Bioscience Los Angeles County (BioLA), a nonprofit corporation created to accelerate the growth and development of the County’s bioscience industry. The County has also funded bioscience incubators at California State University Los Angeles and at LA BioMed on the Harbor-UCLA Medical Campus, and allocated $15 million to create a Bioscience Investment Fund for early-stage startups.
If you are interested in being an industry partner or pursuing a career in Bioscience, please contact the SBWIB at (310) 970-7700 or firstname.lastname@example.org and visit www.sbwib.org/bioflex for more information.