Workforce Innovation Network Development

WIND addresses this unrealized regional imperative for economic development, and will enable employees and job- seekers to acquire portable, high-value skills and gain confidence through industry career transition and development opportunities. Companies will have access to Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) skilled candidates without searching on the East coast. WIND will also attract underemployed workers looking to transition from the less-resilient service, hospitality, and retail sectors into higher-paying, more resilient life science manufacturing jobs with a motivating mission to deliver critical medicines. WIND will also facilitate transitions for returning veterans to the civilian workforce, and will enable existing workers to acquire more advanced training and education in biotechnology.

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Energizing WIND

Resilient entrepreneurship depends on creating and propagating innovative ideas among a community of educated and trained practitioners who then reduce those ideas to practice. FIRE will establish the Workforce Innovation Network Development (WIND) program in Spokane to inspire and engage the community of biomedical/bio-pharmaceutical researchers, innovators, and workers. See below to find out what WIND will do:

1. Enroll
2. Establish
3. Execute
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1. Enroll

Bring the National Institute for Innovation in Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing (NIIMBL) into the consortium. WSU joined NIIMBL as Tier 1 academic partner in 2020. WIND will facilitate networking and information exchange among FIRE participants and NIIMBL.

2. Establish

Act as a hub for coordinated workforce development activities across the US Mountain and Pacific States. WIND will work with industry and academic partners to establish and deliver an industry-validated workforce competency development framework, including (i) virtual training and (ii) industry-specific, hands-on experience. Existing NIIMBL partner content will be leveraged where feasible.

3. Execute

Connect regional entrepreneurs with industry experts to (i) develop problem statements, (ii) leverage existing technology, (iii) spark research and development, (iv) solve critical problems, and (v) expand businesses in biopharmaceutical manufacturing.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the BACE?

The Biotechnician Assistant Credential and Exam (BACE) is an industry-recognized and vetted credential for the biotechnology/bioscience industries. The exam evaluates a candidate’s knowledge, competencies, and skills for a range of roles at different levels. Biotility at the University of Florida’s developed and supports the BACE. You can learn more about the credential and exam by visiting their web site.

Who would benefit by taking the BACE?

The BACE was designed to support candidates all levels of entry into the biotechnology/bioscience workforce. Candidates passing the exam understand the best practices and regulations in companies operating under cGMP, cGLP, and cCGP regulations. This diagram shows examples of the industries where the BACE is applicable.

Where can I take the BACE exam?

The exam is typically administered through a secondary or post-secondary institution, and it is offered in a virtual format. BACE sites are being set up in the Spokane Public School district, Shoreline Community College, and other schools in Washington State. The BACE exam is also part of Flathead Valley Community College’s industrial biotech training program.

How may I prepare for the BACE exam?

High school students in Project Lead The Way Biomedical Science programs are well-prepared to succeed on the exam. The WIND initiative will partner with local schools and colleges to build preparatory courses and establish more test sites.

What is NIIMBL?

The National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL) is one of the 17 national manufacturing institutes. NIIMBL is a public-private partnership whose mission is “to accelerate biopharmaceutical innovation, support the development of standards that enable more efficient and rapid manufacturing capabilities, and educate and train a world-leading biopharmaceutical manufacturing workforce, fundamentally advancing U.S. competitiveness in this industry.”

What are biopharmaceuticals?

Biopharmaceuticals are a class of therapeutics that are produced using DNA technology. NIIMBL and its members foster collaboration that results in the rapid production of high-quality biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies, allowing emerging biological threats to be addressed quickly, and oncology, infectious and autoimmune treatments to be delivered efficiently.

Why is NIIMBL important to WIND?

NIIMBL supports projects to train and develop talent for biopharmaceutical drug substance and drug product manufacturing. Bringing NIIMBL to the FIRE network is one of the aims of this element.

How may we participate in NIIMBL workforce development projects?

NIIMBL posts its project calls via their website. A typical schedule is:

  • NOFO posted – October
  • Concept papers due – early December
  • Notification of concepts selected for full proposal – February

Concept papers may be submitted by any group, but concepts with existing NIIMBL partners receive higher consideration. Washington State University is a tier 1 academic member of NIIMBL. We can participate as a partner and introduce you to the NIIMBL team for your partnership discussion.

To stay apprised of the latest NIIMBL news, sign up for their mailing list here.

What other benefits does NIIMBL offer?

The NIIMBL partnership list includes major industry companies, many SME, and a number of academic partners, offering a variety of networking opportunities within and outside of the project calls. Learn more about NIIMBL from their web site.

How will Idaho and Montana benefit from WIND?

One of our early goals will be recognition of the BACE as a bioscience talent credential across Washington, Idaho, and Montana. We will work with Biotility at the University of Florida, WSU, and Flathead Valley Community College as the initial framework for this effort.

What other resources does WIND recommend?

Below is a list of other other organizations with a short description and links to their websites. This list is updated periodically. So, please come back to discover any changes.

InnovateBio National Biotechnology Education Center. The InnovATEBIO National Biotechnology Education Center is working to advance the education of highly skilled technicians for the nation’s biotechnology workforce. Toward this goal, InnovATEBIO is providing leadership in biotechnology technician education, including support for development and sharing of best practices and emerging technologies in biotechnology workforce development.

Next Gen Zone. Created in 2007, the Next Generation Zone is the Spokane area’s only career center for young adults. We combine education, career skills training, community and employment resources in one place and provide wrap-around support that inspire and motivate young adults to pursue their success.

Biotech Careers. This organization provides information about entry level careers in the biotech industry and pathways for advancement.

Two great resources for finding internships are Riipen and Handshake.

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120 N Pine St, Ste 270 Spokane WA 99202