[Press Release] GMGI Caps Off Season of Wins with NSF Grant
(GLOUCESTER, MA) Over the course of several months, GMGI has seen consecutive achievements across all areas of its ambitious mission, the latest being a milestone for the organization which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. GMGI was awarded $1M from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) new Experiential Learning for Emerging and Novel Technologies (ExLENT), a program that aims to establish new pathways for people with varying STEM experience levels.
GMGI and Gloucester Biotechnology Academy saw unprecedented growth this year, continuing to provide supportive hands-on, experiential education in the life sciences and biotechnology fields, providing on-ramps to underserved and underrepresented individuals previously unable to access STEM opportunities. The Academy teaching laboratories were busier than ever, with the completion of the expansion into biomanufacturing enabling two cohorts of students to complete the program. Thirty-two graduates were awarded Biotechnology Certificates this summer and confidently launched careers in the life sciences.
The Academy also partnered with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston (BGCB), joining forces to bring STEM enrichment opportunities to Boston-area youth. Over the summer, Academy instructors spent five weeks at BGCB locations teaching Summer STEM enrichment programs as well as hosting the BGCB Young Leader’s Program for a day of programming in Gloucester in partnership with Maritime Gloucester.
“The momentum we have right now is incredible,” said Chris Bolzan, GMGI’s Executive Director. “This award from NSF will allow our momentum to build, giving us the opportunity to provide greater services to a larger population of young adults committed to investing in their futures. It allows us to contribute to a broader movement to diversify the STEM fields and provide an inclusive talent pipeline to help fill workforce shortages our nation faces in key technologies. The potential the ExLENT program unlocks is powerful.”
The new grant allows GMGI to build a framework for closing a workforce gap while simultaneously addressing societal goals of promoting equity and increasing access for diverse learners. In addition to increasing the Academy’s outreach to more communities, students will have access to robust wrap-around services including stipends, childcare and housing vouchers, technology and transportation, DEIA training, as well as resources for mental health services.
“We can have a tremendous impact on our students’ lives,” said Laura Richane, GMGI’s Director of Enrollment and Partnerships. “Graduates from our program will see an increase in employability, wage potential, and career growth, all after just 10 months.”
Providing an accessible on-ramp to the life sciences, the Academy is helping to meet the growing demand for skilled biotechnology workers in Massachusetts. The Biotechnology Certificate program for high school graduates includes 7 months of classroom training followed by a 3-month paid industry internship — and is all offered tuition-free. Massachusetts anticipates an increase of 32% in its life sciences jobs over the next decade, according to TEConomy’s 2023 Massachusetts Life Sciences Employment Outlook.
“Organizations like GMGI help to fuel the talent we need today and for our future innovative economy,” said Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Lauren Jones. “The Healey-Driscoll Administration is thrilled to celebrate GMGI’s continued success and we look forward to partnering with GMGI as we invest in more opportunities for our untapped talent to pursue STEM careers and opportunities in Massachusetts’ thriving life sciences industry.”
About Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute
Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute addresses critical challenges facing our oceans, human health, and the environment through innovative scientific research and education. By bringing world-class science and transformative workforce development to Gloucester’s historic waterfront, GMGI is catalyzing the regional economy. GMGI’s Gloucester Biotechnology Academy, a 10-month certificate training program to train recent high school graduates for careers as lab technicians, recently graduated its sixth class. Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute’s state-of-the-art research institute on Gloucester Harbor opened in 2018 and is located at 417 Main Street.