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GlaxoSmithKline and The Philadelphia Foundation invest in biotechnology training program for Philadelphia students

Category: WorkReady | Dec 10, 2012

Philadelphia - WorkReady Philadelphia is launching a biotechnology-focused education program, called Quest, for 25 high school juniors from Roxborough and Lincoln High Schools with funding provided by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and The Philadelphia Foundation. GSK and The Foundation collectively pledged $1 million dollars last spring to advance career and economic opportunities for young Philadelphians. In addition to the Quest program, the funds enabled more than 500 young people to participate in WorkReady opportunities in summer 2012. (Mayor Nutter's Announcement of the funding).

 The program, managed by the Philadelphia Academies, is scheduled to launch in January 2013.

 "The jobs of tomorrow will rely even more on the skills derived from STEM (Science, Technology, Education and Math) education," said Mary Linda Andrews, Director, Community Partnerships, GlaxoSmithKline. "We are delighted to partner with The Philadelphia Foundation on the Quest program that will inspire high school students and lay the groundwork for science careers."

 The program will introduce students to the biotechnology field -- one of the fastest growing, industries in the country with an expected job growth rate of 31 percent from 2010 to 2020 -- according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Quest will build 21st century skills, provide work experiences, and connect students to college mentors through laboratory-based educational programs focused on biotechnology science applications and clinical molecular diagnostics. The capstone of this effort is a six-week paid summer internship experience that provides students with real-world opportunities in the biotechnology field.

 The Quest program, like all examples of the WorkReady Industry Pipeline program model, relies on collaboration between a set of key local organizations, each dedicated to improving educational and career opportunities for Philadelphia youth. Quest partners are: 

  •  Philadelphia Academies is the lead partner and will manage all program logistics and coordinate services
  •  Roxborough and Lincoln High Schools have assisted in identifying the 25 youth who will participate in Quest, will provide rigorous math and science curriculum to participants, and will provide teacher professional development aligned with the program
  • District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund will provide academic support through STEM curriculum focused on improving knowledge, skills, and attitudes toward biotechnology careers. District 1199C will also facilitate after school programming twice a week and engage mentors from the industry to assist with student projects. 
  • Thomas Jefferson University will identify 10 college mentors who are currently enrolled in the University's bio-technology program to work with pipeline program participants. In addition to mentoring, the college students will provide program participants with academic support and shadowing opportunities in research labs 
  • The University City Science Center will host students for summer internships

As the managing partner of WorkReady, the Philadelphia Youth Network will oversee implementation of the model.

"We are excited about the possibilities that this extensive partnership will create for the youth of our city," said R. Andrew Swinney, president of The Philadelphia Foundation. "Philadelphia already is a leader in the healthcare and biotechnology fields. This Industry Pipeline program will create a pool of qualified future employees, and allow us to foster increased interest among Philadelphia youth in key industries that are beneficial to our city."


About GlaxoSmithKline
GlaxoSmithKline is one of the world's leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies. For further information go to, follow GSK on or visit the GSK blog: 

About The Philadelphia Foundation

Since 1918, The Philadelphia Foundation has linked those with financial resources to those who serve societal needs. It is the region's community foundation, serving Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties. For more information, visit

About WorkReady Philadelphia

WorkReady Philadelphia is the city's youth workforce preparation system that is supported by blended investments from public and private sources, including: federal, state and city dollars; support from Greater Philadelphia employers; grants from local and national philanthropies; and gifts from individuals.  WorkReady is overseen by the Philadelphia Council for College and Career Success, a subcommittee of Philadelphia Works, Inc., and is managed by the Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN). PYN works with over 50 organizations to operate WorkReady programs across the city.  Learn more at

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