Dale Dixon, co-founder of Benchmark Enviroanalytical, a Palmetto life sciences company that analyzes water samples, needs well-prepared candidates to fill highly technical jobs in his growing company.
To assure a skilled pipeline, Dixon’s company was one of the first to sign on as an industry partner with the Biotechnology associate degree program at State College of Florida (SCF).
Taught by molecular biologist Matt Thomas, Ph.D., the program operates like a research and development laboratory with a workforce training twist: The primary focus is on giving future workers the skills to land jobs in the region’s growing number of labs.
Dixon affirmed that SCF’s job-ready focus is effective.
“SCF students come in lab-ready,” he said. “They are conscientious, dependable, smart, and get the job done.”
Thomas, a veteran in the biotechnology field with research and industry backgrounds, saw firsthand that most job candidates were poorly equipped. “In starting this hands-on program at SCF, our vision was to give students superior skills they can put straight to work in a laboratory or industrial setting,” he said.
Skill sets include cell culture, DNA/RNA and protein isolation, genomic characterization and sequencing; genetic modification of organisms; bioinformatics training; and more.
In addition to Benchmark, a lengthening list of SCF Biotechnology industry partners includes Rapid Pathogen Screening, Lakewood-Amedex, Environmental Biotech, Osprey Biotechnics, Cambryn Biologics, Wellspring Pharmaceutical, Enzymedica, Roskamp Institute, Sarasota Medical Products, and Natural Immunologics.
SCF’s biotechnology program operates like a research and development laboratory with a workforce training twist: The primary focus is on giving future workers the skills to land jobs in the region’s growing number of labs.