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The Wolf Administration Highlights Wistar’s Two Workforce Development Programs During Graduation Award Ceremony

PHILADELPHIA — (August 2, 2018) — The Wistar Institute announces that the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry Secretary Jerry Oleksiak will address graduates from The Wistar Institute’s Biomedical Research Technician (BRT) Apprenticeship and Biomedical Technician Training (BTT) Program, both of which incorporate science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), and non-traditional training to support the development of the biotech labor force in Pennsylvania.

“This 2018 graduating year of biomedical research technicians represents a first for Wistar as we are proud to graduate two inaugural students who have completed our first-of-its-kind, nontraditional, credentialed BRT Apprenticeship program alongside our 12 BTT Program graduates,” said Dr. William Wunner, Wistar director of outreach education and technology training, and director of academic affairs. “Our apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs feed into the region’s strength in the life sciences by developing experienced research technicians who can add to the vital workforce.”

Governor Wolf’s PAsmart initiative is a new way of thinking about job training and workforce development, by providing targeted funding for apprenticeship programs, STEM education, computer science, and more, so students and workers get the training and skills needed for in-demand, middle class jobs. The first-of-its-kind $30 million investment will help students and workers gain real-world skills for the 21st century economy.

“Employers across Pennsylvania need skilled workers with the hands-on training that programs and apprenticeships like this provide,” said Secretary Jerry Oleksiak. “Today’s graduates were trained in industry-grade laboratories and have the skills to get good jobs in the science and research sector throughout our commonwealth.”

Secretary Oleksiak addressed educators, parents, local business leaders, and students graduating from the BTT Program and the BRT Apprenticeship program. The BTT Program was created in 2000 as a partnership between The Wistar Institute and the Community College of Philadelphia to reinforce the region’s workforce with experienced lab technicians. In 2017, L&I’s Apprenticeship and Training Office approved and registered the institute’s BRT Apprenticeship program, which expands upon the BTT Program’s structure.

“We are excited to witness the first two BRT Apprentices graduate in the first in kind career path apprenticeship and enter a sustainable and vibrant workforce in biomedical research,” said Dr. Donald Generals, president of the Community College of Philadelphia. “This model will expand to support the development of the region’s growing and industrious biomedical and biotech labor force.”


The Wistar Institute is an international leader in biomedical research with special expertise in cancer research and vaccine development. Founded in 1892 as the first independent nonprofit biomedical research institute in the United States, Wistar has held the prestigious Cancer Center designation from the National Cancer Institute since 1972. The Institute works actively to ensure that research advances move from the laboratory to the clinic as quickly as possible.

Community College of Philadelphia is the largest public institution of higher education in Philadelphia and the sixth largest in Pennsylvania. The College enrolls approximately 34,000 students annually and offers day, evening, and weekend classes, as well as classes online.

For more information about pursuing an education and career in Pennsylvania at any stage of life, visit PAsmart.

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