LabCentral Ignite receives $400K grant to improve diversity in STEM

By Andre Rickard, The Science Advisory Board contributing writer

March 25, 2022 -- LabCentral Ignite has been awarded $400,000 in grants and matching awards from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) and Breakthrough Properties, a life science real estate development company, to expand its Career Forge program. The nonprofit also announced that it is accepting applicants for its next Career Forge session.

The EDA chose LabCentral Ignite as one of eight recipients to receive a $250,000 grant as part of the administration's annual science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) Talent Challenge. Breakthrough Properties has provided an additional $150,000 in initial matching funds, with the potential to increase up to $300,000 over subsequent years.

Breakthrough Properties is also looking into potentially developing additional education program collaboration with LabCentral Ignite, according to a press release by LabCentral Ignite.

The Career Forge program is a scientific training program led by educators, workplace coaches, and biotech industry professionals to help improve the skill sets and career opportunities available to underrepresented communities.

The opportunity is extended to high school graduates, college students, and associate or bachelor's degree holders who are first generation, Black, or Latinx, in addition to other groups that have been historically underrepresented in the biotech industry.

These awards provided to LabCentral Ignite's Career Forge program will be used to continue to promote the program's mission of increasing diversity, equity, inclusion, and opportunity in the life sciences field, LabCentral Ignite said.

The program offers lab instruction and various other forms of scientific and professional training. The nonprofit is also recruiting for its next Career Forge session, which will begin April 2022. Applications can be submitted on the Career Forge page and are due by April 1, 2022.

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