Professional Development

Maryland Tech Council receives $2.5M to fill life sciences workforce gaps

With a little under $5 million in total recent government funding, the MTC seeks to increase both the number of life sciences workers and the scope of who fits within the local industry.

Attention, Maryland life science sector.

(Photo by Pexels user Polina Tankilevitch, used under a Creative Commons license)

The Maryland Tech Council (MTC) plans to use its recently announced $2.5 million of state funds to grow the BioHub Maryland initiative, as well as place more workers where the local life sciences industry needs them.

This new funding comes soon after MTC’s receipt of $2.45 million in federal money, which Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen (who chairs the US Senate Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee for financial services and general government) helped allocate. This brings the total amount of recent government funds up to $4.95 million, the sum of which MTC will use to build out the initiative. BioHub Maryland doubles as both a business development program for small businesses and a workforce development program to help people break into life sciences careers.

The new state money was earmarked in Governor Larry Hogan’s new Maryland Cancer Moonshot Initiative, which aims to expand and accelerate cancer detection, screening, prevention, treatment and research work in the state.

“An exceptional life science workforce is fundamental to discovering and manufacturing cures and treatments for cancer and other diseases,” said Marty Rosendale, CEO of the MTC, in a statement. “BioHub Maryland seeks to grow our life science workforce by engaging talent from diverse educational backgrounds and demonstrating the immense value of a biotech career in Maryland.”

The state funds will be used “to identify current workforce gaps in Maryland and to generate stronger local demand for life science careers, especially among those who do not have advanced degrees,” according to the press release. Another long term goal involves BioHub Maryland overseeing a shared biomanufacturing space.

These workforce development opportunities principally now live on BioHub Maryland’s website. Rosendale previously outlined a vision of what a state life sciences job creation program could look like. He wants a joint curriculum, designed by Maryland life science businesses and universities, that guarantees employers get biomanufacturing students with the necessary skills.

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“Part of Biohub Maryland’s mission is to make the case to residents in Baltimore and across the state that advanced degrees are not required in order to find a rewarding career in the life sciences,” Rosendale told Techncial.ly. “Now that we have received notice of funding, we are starting to work with partners statewide, including [in] Baltimore, on specific programming, such as biotech and biopharma curricula.”

He also wants to build a job creation program to address those workforce gaps, including the provision of wraparound services to ease career transitions and entry. Services could range from paying for daycare, so a single parent can get job training, or subsidizing transportation to and from a training facility.

“We’re going to need to teach skill sets specific to biomanufacturing and pharmaceutical manufacturing that are not typically taught in colleges as a part of traditional academic programs,” Rosendale said. “We will also be appointing an advisory council and conducting a workforce needs assessment. We look forward to sharing our work on these programs in the coming months.”


Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation. -30-
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