Gov. Baker visits GMGI to announce $940K Workforce Skills Capital Grant

Governor Charlie Baker’s visit to GMGI in October of 2018 was to celebrate the start of an exciting new chapter for the research institute: the cutting of the ribbon at 417 Main. His recent visit on February 25 was to celebrate another big milestone for GMGI – the addition of biomanufacturing training to the curriculum at Gloucester Biotechnology Academy.

Gov. Baker, joined by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Rep. Ann Margaret Ferrante, Sen. Bruce Tarr, Mayor Romeo Theken and members of the Workforce Skills Cabinet, visited GMGI to announce a $940K grant that will enable Gloucester Biotechnology Academy to build and equip a new laboratory that will add biomanufacturing to the skills students graduate with . This award is part of the $14.6M in grants that the Baker-Polito administration has given to 54 educational institutions across the state to expand student enrollment in programs that provide career education.

After receiving a tour of the Institute, Governor Baker listened as GMGI’s COO Chris Bolzan welcomed the guests and explained the purpose and significance of the grant – to provide our graduates with a new, in-demand skillset that is extremely valuable to today’s biotech employers. In addition to new lab and equipment, the grant will add a month to the curriculum and will allow GMGI to double the size of the class within the next two years. “What’s more, we will train a skilled biomanufacturing workforce that will help fill a regional need and fuel economic development,” said Bolzan.

The shining moment of the event came when Academy Alum Sara Corchado (’18) came to the podium and spoke of her experience in the program. Her remarkable story of going from nearly dropping out of high school to being recently named one of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s prestigious “YES for CURE Scholars” was interrupted repeatedly by enthusiastic applause. Sara is a great example of how the Academy can transform the life of a young person, and these opportunities will only continue to grow with the addition of biomanufacturing.

GMGI is required to provide a $313K cash match for the award. New England BioLabs and BioMed Realty have committed corporate support amounting to roughly half the required match total, and GMGI will be approaching other organizations for additional contributions to the match. Payette, the architecture firm that designed the Gloucester Biotechnology Academy teaching lab as well as the marine genomics research institute on the harbor, has committed to in-kind design support for the new classroom and laboratory.

The biomanufacturing curriculum will be available to Academy students in 2021, and is fueled by the excitement for what’s to come, especially for John Doyle, GMGI’s Education Director. “This award is a great endorsement of our workforce training program and what we’ve accomplished since Gloucester Biotechnology Academy was launched.”