PBC Banner Center

Recently I wrote a story on the Banner Center of Life Science program headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens (You can read that story here on North County Current).

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Students at June’s Protein Purification workshop

But in this post here, I wanted to give you an idea about the actual trainings.

I asked the folks at our Banner Center (Elizabeth Handel, Jill Diodato, Douglas Saenz, director of industry and economic relations at Workforce Alliance), if I take part in one of its short one-or-two-day trainings, what kind of job will it prepare me for, and is there one actually waiting for me?

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Participants in the Protein Purification workshop working on filtration

The curricula for the trainings the Banner Center created are based on the feedback they’ve received from bio sciences companies on the skill sets they need their employees to have.

Any prospective (or current) employee can benefit from the trainings,  explained Jill Diodato, the center’s program manager. “All workshops are hands-on, industry specific for entry-level, advanced level and skills upgrade.

“Each course has been designed to specifically address industry-accepted competencies. Banner Center for Life Sciences courses are designed by Florida’s life sciences industry for industry to fill jobs where there currently is a need for staff.  The purpose behind industry-designed curriculum is to ensure their needs are being met — with the kind of training they want employees to  have — and that jobs will be available for the newly-trained workforce.”

If you are job hunting, here’s a list of applicable NIAC codes:

Research and Development in Biotechnology – 541711

Medicinal and Botanical Manufacturing – 325411

Pharmaceutical Preparation Manufacturing  – 325412

In-Vitro Diagnostic Substance MFG. – 325413

Biological Product Manufacturing – 325414

Surgical Appliance and Supplies Mfg. – 339113

Other Electronic and Precision Equipment Repair and Maintenance  – 811219

When I looked these up, I found that each category included entry-level jobs (like office clerks, sorters and samplers), to higher levels (like supervisors and engineers).

So, for those who are recent high-school grads and for those who are looking for a career change, these trainings are a kind of first step (and might get you in the door). For those who already have a science-related job, the trainings will add skill sets that the bio-science companies are looking for.

Trainings offered by the Banner Center:

Business Basics for Life Science Industry:  This two-day workshop provides a basic understanding of business and science components that impact life science businesses. Designed for students, incumbent workers, and scientists in academia, this module provides an overview of business fundamentals of the life science industry. After participating in this workshop, a participant will be able to describe the business aspects of diverse life science companies and explain how science affects business considerations. Topics include: company structure and functions, product development process, funding, legal considerations and business development/licensing. Detailed case studies of Florida and global pharmaceutical, medical device and biotech life science companies will be performed.

Cleanroom Technology: This course will provide fundamentals for working in cleanroom environments including procedures, management and current GMP practices. Topics include facility design and specification, standards and best practices, measurement and instrumentation, environmental monitoring, gowning and product testing. The student will become familiar with ISO, IEST, NIST and ASTM standards.

Medical Device Basics: This two-day workshop provides an introduction to medical device manufacturing and overview of medical device industry regulations.  Participants will be able to describe and identify the tools and processes specific to the medical device industry. Topics include GMP systems and procedures, validation and quality Systems. Regulatory Affairs will also be addressed and will include: federal regulations, working with the FDA, assembling and filing an IND, IDE, or 510K application, and clinical trials.

Protein Purification and Characterization: This workshop provides insight into the theory and techniques of monoclonal antibody purification and characterization. Participants learn the theory of antibody separation methods using chromatography and standard characterization methods including quantification using spectroscopy and SDS-Page.  Laboratory instruction will include fundamentals of different types of purification strategies and hands-on experience with affinity chromatography and membrane filtration for the production of monoclonal antibodies. This module will include a case study from Meridian Life Science, an industrial monoclonal antibody manufacturer. Lectures will include industrial processing of biological materials from Fermentation to Downstream Purification, Quality Control and Quality Assurance practices.

Cell Culture Methods: This course will introduce students to the components of a tissue culture laboratory, equipment, instruments and aseptic technique.  Students will learn how to prepare media, culture and maintain cell lines, perform appropriate documentation, perform cryopreservation, and gain an understanding of biopharmaceutical regulations.  The course will involve a case study of Immunosite Technologies, a contract research and testing company focused on discovery and development of immune-based drugs, vaccines and biologics.

Pharmaceutical Basics: This course will provide basic insights into the pharmaceutical industry, drug development process and basic laboratory skills.  This module will familiarize participants with basic wet chemistry techniques preparation of buffers, mobile phases, finished product sample and stability samples.  This will also include working in a current GMP (cGMP) environment with compendial methods from the United States Pharmacopeia (USP).   Students will learn concepts in Quality Assurance including GLP and GMP compliance, SOPs, documentation, and validation.

I took the Protein Purification workshop. A tech for this would fall under the Biological Technician occupational code. In June, there were approximately 75 postitions open in Florida, according to Douglas Saenz, director of industry and economic relations, Workforce Alliance.

Although I don’t have a science background, I could pretty much follow along. About 30 or so people participated (a full class) — and my “classmates” were either science students or lab techs…

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