Summarizes curriculum offerings, activities, and accomplishments of Biotech training and certification in Austin, Texas, in courses specifically targeting the entry-level workforce and informed by strong collaboration with local employers.

“The Austin Biotech Workforce Education Consortium began in August 2006 as a two-year project to expand and enhance biotechnical educational offerings at Austin Community College with strong input from Austin area bioscience firms. The project paid for faculty externships in the workplace Austin bioscience firms in order to develop the curriculum offerings” in three subject areas: Fundamentals of Biotechnology, Molecular Diagnostics, and BioInstrumentation (p.1). “This report covered activities and accomplishments of the full project, which ran during a 27-month period from August 2006 through December 2008” (p.2). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)


Major Findings & Recommendations

“Overall, all components of the project were implemented, although the numbers of students and outcomes… did not meet the ambitious goals the project initially proposed. All of the courses and specializations were developed and were implemented. The teacher externships allowed faculty the time and access to workplaces and knowledge to be able to develop the new courses” (p.37). In brief, major findings include: • Initially, "[t]he program aimed to attract individuals with no bioscience background and prepare them through classroom and laboratory instruction and workplace internships over an eleven-week period to work in entry-level jobs in the bioscience industry" (p.1). However,…"there are entry-level jobs in the biosciences in Austin for which a “short-cut” eleven-week Fundamentals of Biotechnology program for students with no prior background is adequate preparation, but there are not sufficient numbers to make the program viable as a regular offering each semester, i.e., three times a year" (p.37). • “A program of courses and internships was designed and implemented to offer an Enhanced Skills Certificate in Molecular Diagnostics. Thought to be of special interest to incumbent workers, this specialty program was available to graduates with Associate or Bachelor’s degrees in Medical Laboratory Technology or other appropriate science degree” (p.1). However, many accommodations including course offerings and schedules had to be altered significantly, as "[m]any incumbent workers do not have the time and availability to come to Austin Community College for this specialty” (p.39). • "Having offered an insufficient number of internships to ACC students in bioinstrumentation, only three bio employers hired graduates completing the program. The word about the relative lack of available jobs in bioinstrumentation soon spread to other electronics students. Without jobs, the program failed to attract students and the bioinstrumentation courses were not offered in the 2008-09 school year. However, the associate degree specialization and the 36-hour specialized certificate in bioinstrumentation remain in the college catalog" (p.41). Researchers provide additional conclusive remarks about each of the programs of study on pages 37–41. (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)