Inside California Education: Community Colleges – Biotechnology: Growing a Workforce in San Diego

Inside California Education: Community Colleges – Biotechnology: Growing a Workforce in San Diego

♪♪ Instructor: So there are slides kristen: In this
classroom at San Diego Miramar College,
students are more likley to examine D-N-A
than listen to a lecture… They spend more time
with a microscope than they do a textbook… And in a year and a half,
they’ll be fully trained to meet a growing demand
in biotechnology… An industry that has
more jobs available, than people to fill
them. Benjamin: The biotech industry
has about 2,000 open positions every year in this area, so
students that have gone through our program and have those
skillsets, they get hired really quickly into the industry. Kristen: From vaccines
to crops to medicine, biotechnoloy is used to
create many new products. San Diego happens to be
one of the largest biotech hubs in the nation… And this program is meeting
a crucial need by providing hands-on training. At Miramar
College, students spend more than 300 hours in the lab before
receiving a certificate of achievement in applied
biotechnology. Instructor: These microscopes
should be more or less focused. ♪♪ Elsa: We’re at Aviva
Systems Biology and I’m a Lab Technician One… Kristen: Elsa Ruble began as an
intern at Aviva Systems Biology during her second semester of
Miramar’s certification program. Elsa: One of the first things we
learned in the classroom is pipetting and how to be accurate
and precise and that’s something we do here every day. Kristen: A few months later,
she was offered a permanent job, working with
antibodies for research. She works here during the day,
while completing her final semester at Miramar in the
evening. Elsa: It allowed me the
opportunity to do something fast. Not something
that was going to take two years. I wanted to start
working now and not only that but it gave me the flexibility
of going to school at night when I had to be at home
with the kids. Kristen: Joseph Wong, Aviva
systems director of operations, says Biotech is a constantly
evolving industry … And part of what makes
Miramar’s program so successful is their
ability to stay current. Joseph: Miramar works with
industry. They’re working with companies like us, with other
companies in the area and saying hey what do you guys
need, umm you know before they were just focusing on lab
techniques. Now they’re focusing on areas like quality. Benjamin: The reason for that is
because we want to make sure that we’re designing a
program that’s meeting industry needs, that we’re providing
skillsets that they’re looking for. The change
in technology, the change in what our employers are looking
for those changes are so rapid that we have to work with
industry. Kristen: Eloy Ortiz Oakley is
the Chancellor of California’s Community
College system. He says these kinds of
partnerships benefit everyone involved …
The students, the college … And the employer. E. Oritz Oakley: It’s good for
them to keep the cost down for recruiting and retaining
employees, and it’s good for the college and the students
because those students may not have been able to access
that kind of employment but for that relationship. Kristen: Instructors say this is
a perfect program for just about anyone
who wants a new career… In a booming industry …
Quickly! We have taken from
people from all kinds of previous careers –
truck drivers, carpenters, stay at home moms – um
secretaries, whatever. Anybody who likes to work
with their hands and their mind at the same time, I think
it’s a perfect career. Instructor: Yeah you
already saw splitting? Tara: Instead of just hearing
about it, it really shows you what you could potentially
be doing and for me I didn’t really know if this would be
an interest for me, but after graduating I knew that
definitely working in a lab could be a potential job. Benjamin: They get
to work with their hands on a daily basis. They get to work in really neat
labs on things that make a difference in everyone’s lives,
so it’s a really rewarding career, it’s a hands-on career,
and it pays really well. Kristen: Employers say, it’s an
industry that’s only going to keep growing…
Changing the lives of those who work in Biotechnology,
and those who benefit from it. Joseph: It’s done a lot for
making people live longer, it’s helping people kind of adapt to
a changing world and climate, so I think it’s definitely a
major part of our lives. Kristen: As for Elsa Ruble…
She says it’s a major part of her life now, too. Elsa: I was a stay at home mom
just a year ago. Literally just a year ago and in
a matter of six, seven months, I feel like my life has changed.
In a good way. The best way. Annc: Biotechnology uses living
organisms to create products, often found in medicine, food
production and agriculture. More than two dozen California
community colleges offer degrees and certificates in
biotechnology, including regional centers in Southern
California and the Bay Area …bridging the gap between
education and job training. ♪♪

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