WASHINGTON (7News) — A local college is stepping up to fill two needs: To help some of the many workers who have lost their jobs in the pandemic, and to fill hundreds of available jobs in the biotech industry.
Tonight, Only on 7, we share the story of "biotech boot camp."
This sophisticated lab may look like it's in a big biotech company with experienced scientists, but it's actually on the campus of Montgomery College, with students in attendance like Maiha Thompson.
"Never something I expected to do but it's something that I'm very grateful to get into and start doing as soon as I can!" Thompson told us.
Thompson is a business major, who was also working until she lost her job during the pandemic. But she heard about the biotech boot camp at Montgomery College and wanted to give it a try.
"The experience was honestly amazing, it was definitely something that was new to me," she said. "But we were able to grow cells, feed them, sort of creating life in a lab seemed amazing to me."
Dr. Collins Jones ran the pilot boot camp at the beginning of the year.
"These jobs are not going to go away once the pandemic is over, there is still going to be a high demand for biotech workers in Maryland and especially in Montgomery County," he said. "Personally, I know of at least 1,000 entry-level jobs in Montgomery County, Frederick County, PG County, Howard County and those are just entry-level jobs, I want to make that clear: you don't need a Ph.D. to get into biotech."
Like Thompson, who now has a job as an associate scientist at a biotech company in Rockville, starting this month.
"When I heard the opportunity about going into biotech to, you know, help make vaccines and different solutions and things like that I just figured it would be perfect, especially during a pandemic, like it doesn't get any better than that."
The biotech boot camp is free to students because of funding from Worksource Montgomery.
Montgomery College is hoping to have another boot camp available in June.