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Life Sciences Center awards $46K grant to Cambridge’s Just-A-Start

The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center has awarded a $46,000 capital grant to Cambridge-based Just-A-Start to support the organization’s Biomedical Careers Program.

The funds will be used to purchase a bioreactor, autoclave, and support tools including computer, camera, and monitor equipment and accessories. The grant also provides management and staff with training for using the new equipment.

The JAS Cambridge Biomedical Careers Program has been providing occupational skills training to individuals in partnership with Bunker Hill Community College for 23 years. The program is free to income-eligible candidates and graduates earn 19 college credits. The program has placed more than 400 graduates in entry-level positions in the biomedical and biotechnology arena.

The bioreactor and autoclave will enhance laboratory curriculum for an anticipated 25 participants in next fall’s academic class, as well as class members for five more classes, reaching 125 students over the next six years. The TV, camera and computer will be utilized to enhance student’s communication skills, whether it is to improve their job interview competencies or to effectively communicate as a team once they secure employment. Many participants are immigrants who possess impressive backgrounds and skills, but at times are limited in their verbal skills. The equipment will help bridge that gap.

“We are so grateful to MLSC for these equipment grant funds that will enable our students to practice cell culture using an industry-standard bioreactor,” said Jennifer O’Donnell, JAS program manager. “This grant award will make pharmaceutical manufacturing standards come alive at the Cambridge Biomedical Careers Program.”

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