Bio-technology success



Skyline College’s intense Biotechnology program success continues to grow since 2003 when it partnered with Genentech’s Biotechnology Company.

The impact of 9/11 caused thousands of airport workers to be dislocated with no jobs. Skyline College and the San Mateo Workforce Investment Board (WIB) came together and agreed that those workers, who were already trained under Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations, could be retrained under Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations. In 2003 the partnership with Genentech kicked off a twelve week certificate program.

“Our program and has been a partnership with San Mateo county’s workforce investment board and 25 bio-tech companies starting with Genentech. The program won a national award from the U.S Department of labor” said William Watson, Center for Work Force Development

Many of the students came from completely different career backgrounds and may not be ready for the intensity of the program. The Gateway Program is a “learning community” designed to get those students ready for the Bio-Manufacturing Program and other programs. The Gateway program reintroduces students to soft skills such as Math and English, and even helps them with getting adjusted with college life and their new work force.

“I came from a completely different background, I didn’t have any science background, I was a dislocated worker. This program helped me learn new skills, which will give me some skills to find a new job and venture new career” said Michael Sales, a student in Bio-Manufacturing Certificate ProgramStudents who enter the program must be extremely dedicated to the program. The 4-6 week application process alone is intense; submitting a resume, assessment testing and a 3 panel interview is among some of what they have to endure. The Bio-tech program has a 97% completion rate and 90% of those students go on to get jobs in the industry. The program has done so well that since Genentech, 25 additional companies want to hire programs graduates. Students can earn $35,000-45,000 a year in an entry level position.

“The great part about this program is that we get to go into the bio tech companies and get to see what they look like, and then we can compare the differences between one bio tech and another bio-tech. It’s very interesting.” said B. L. Robinson, a student in Bio-Manufacturing Certificate Program

The Bio-program has gotten a lot of positive recognition over the years. In 2005 Skyline College won an award from U.S. Dept of Labor, for being “top program in the nation”. Also, in 2007 it was written up for a national model.

“Bio-Technology is a growing industry in Northern California, our bio-manufacturing program as Skyline has a great track record of getting people ready for great jobs in the industry” said Mr. Watson.