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Regional project for more biotech jobs receives grant

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The U.S. Department of Labor has directed a three-year, $4.95 million grant toward a project designed to spur economic growth of the San Diego region's life sciences industry.

The Biotechnology Readiness, Immersion, Certification and Degrees for Gainful Employment, or BRIDGE project, is a partnership comprising San Diego State University, Biocom, the San Diego Workforce Partnership. and the Southern California Biotechnology Center at Miramar College.

The organizations will provide education, training, and placement services to more than 1,000 veterans, incumbent workers and dislocated and unemployed workers within the San Diego region, aiming to meet the critical need for clinical laboratory scientists, medical laboratory technicians, medical physicists and professional scientists.

SDSU and Miramar College will provide certificate, degree, and Professional Science Master's programs.

The Biocom Institute's Life Science Immersion Program will provide training needed for successful biotechnology careers, and the BioCollaborative, created in cooperation with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, will provide an online resource to facilitate seamless transition from higher education to careers in the life sciences industry.

The grant is part of more than $225 million in federal stimulus funding awarded by the Department of Labor to create jobs in health care and high growth industries under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. There were 55 grants awarded in this round of funding.

The BRIDGE Project is one of four biotechnology programs to receive funding.

"This grant provides an opportunity to continue to build the homegrown workforce that we need in Southern California, while helping veterans and displaced workers move into skilled, high paying jobs that help this region continue as a hub of innovation that saves lives," said Biocom President and CEO Joe Panetta in a statement.

Fifteen industry members wrote letters of support for this grant application.

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