GSK and Montgomery College Partner on New Apprenticeship Program to Meet Growing Demands for Biomanufacturing Workforce in Maryland

November 13, 2019

Earlier this year we reported on the First of Its Kind Apprenticeship Program at GSK’s Rockville, Maryland Site. We are happy to provide an update on that story with news that GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has expanded their apprenticeship program to now include Biopharmaceutical Associates.

GSK is an industry-leading pharmaceutical, consumer products and healthcare company and is known for taking a future-oriented approach to their talent strategies. The Validation Technician Apprenticeship was the first of its kind in the U.S. pharmaceutical industry. They have also begun to explore Virtual Reality training as a model that can be used to speed up employee development.

The Rockville, MD site is home to the global vaccines U.S. R&D center and Biopharm Manufacturing facility, which recently unveiled a $139M facility expansion to meet global product demand.

With the growing shortage of talent in the biomanufacturing sector and the expanding demand for such talent at GSK, and across the rapidly growing industry within the BioHealth Capital Region, adding the Biopharmaceutical Apprenticeship is an advantageous strategic move. This new program provides a mechanism for GSK to attract, hire and retain a pool of talent that other competitors will not have access too and puts them in a position to be more competitive in the war for talent.

The biopharmaceutical associate apprenticeship is designed to equip workers with the specialist skills needed to support the production of biologics

According to the GSK Program website for the Biomanufacturing associate;

‘Over the course of this paid 3-4 year program you will spend most of your week at our biopharmaceutical site receiving specialist on-the-job training from our in-house industry experts, combined with early responsibility to help you develop and progress. 

You will also study part-time at Montgomery Community College working towards an Associate’s degree (AAS) in Biotechnology, fully funded by GSK, with the potential to go on to further study.

Upon completion of the program, you will also receive a Certificate of Apprenticeship Completion from the US Department of Labor, an industry issued, portable nationally recognized credential that certifies occupational proficiency.

Working with both your line and program manager we want to identify the right opportunities to help you succeed in the short term and throughout your career with us.  You will also be assigned a buddy or a mentor who will be there to offer support and guidance throughout your apprenticeship.’

The talent shortage is real, and it’s getting even larger in the BioHealth capital region as a result of the growth of companies like GSK, Catalent’s Paragon Gene Therapy, REGENXBIO, Kite, a Gilead Company, and Autolus. Collectively, these and other local companies are projecting approximately 2,000 new biotech jobs between 2019 and 2021 (according to various sources).

The companies that begin to think proactively and creatively about attracting, training and retaining their workforce are going to come out on top with the workforce they need to succeed in delivering their life saving medicines.

You can learn more about GSK’s apprenticeship programs on the company website – here.

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Chris Frew
Over the past 8 years, Chris has grown BioBuzz into a respected brand that is recognized for its community building, networking events and news stories about the local biotech industry. In addition, he runs a Recruiting and Marketing Agency that helps companies attract top talent through a blended model that combines employer branding and marketing services together with a high powered recruiting solution.

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