"Massachusetts faces a special challenge in maintaining a sufficient supply of suitably qualified labor. This is exacerbated by the high cost of living in the state’s life science cluster zones, and by historically low levels of investment in public education, particularly at post-secondary levels...Massachusetts employers consistently identify a shortage of mid-level talent as an obstacle to growth."Workforce development and job training came up frequently during discussion of Harvard's new Life Science campus in Allston and last year's review of Harvard's $1B Science Complex. But Harvard showed little interest this topic and a draft of the Cooperation Agreement contains nothing particularly new or comprehensive enough to make a serious difference in helping a people develop skills to become laboratory technicians qualified to work in a Harvard lab.
"We have tech positions we can’t fill. You can do a global search for lead scientists, but you need lab tech talent in-state. - Hospital CEO"
Harvard and our local Gardner elementary school are well positioned to be a leader in the initiative suggested to improve pre-K to grade 12 Life Science outreach. Could Harvard do something in Allston that would match or exceed the Bio-Bus outreach program at Georgia State University or the similar travelling classroom run by Connecticut United for Research Excellence?
Another great suggestion is a summertime "bio camp" for elementary and high school students that would "use undergraduate life science majors as teaching staff...and idle lab and classroom facilities at local colleges and universities." Georgia, New York, Puerto Rico, and Utah already offer summer programs with a focus on the life sciences.
While it is disappointing that Harvard and the City haven't been more enthusiastic in these areas, this report and more focus on the subject may yet be able to lead to new programs with positive benefits for Harvard, Allston, the City of Boston, and the State.
Press Release - Full report (4 MB file) - Boston Globe story