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White House releases action plan for strengthening the U.S. bioworkforce

July 27, 2023

The White House has released a new report, Building the bioworkforce of the future: Expanding equitable pathways into biotechnology and biomanufacturing jobs. The five core recommendations in the report are intended to help propel continued investment in the bioeconomy and maintain the U.S.’ leadership in this sector. The report follows an Executive Order President Biden signed in September 2022.

Recommendation #1 calls for expanding and diversifying the talent pool for biotechnology and biomanufacturing jobs and careers to promote innovation and advance equity. One action step for achieving this recommendation is to “expand and diversify the bioworkforce by increasing support for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) and the students they serve.”

Recommendation #2 is to strengthen worker-centered sector strategies and other partnerships between employers, labor organizations, community colleges, and other training providers to grow and diversify the bioworkforce. “These partners collaborate to analyze their regional labor market, anticipate future job and skill needs, develop and implement education and training programs, and recruit and support a diverse pool of workers.”

Recommendation #3 encourages the bioindustries to develop and rigorously evaluate innovative approaches to education and training.Ideally, education and training programs should be structured as part of a career pathway— allowing students and workers to transition between work and structured learning (on and off the job) as they progress through their careers.”

Recommendation #4 is to partner with state, local, and Tribal governments, education and training providers, bioscience associations, unions, other worker-serving organizations, and other stakeholders to raise awareness about the promise and potential of careers in the bioworkforce.Many students and workers—including women, people of color, youth, and others underrepresented in the bioworkforce—are unaware of the career opportunities that exist in the bioworkforce—including those that do not require a four-year degree.”

Recommendation #5 calls for improving data and analytic capacity and cross-sector collaboration to advance equity and support effective workforce development, including developing industry-recognized credentials and competency models.Effective and equitable workforce development depends on a clear understanding of employers' real-time job, skill, and credential needs. With this data, employers, unions, education and training providers, and other stakeholders can assess the extent to which workers of all backgrounds already possess the required skills and whether education and training programs will effectively prepare workers for good jobs.”

bioeconomy, biomanufacturing, biotechnology, workforce