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Practices with Promise Workforce Outcomes eShowcase

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Practices with Promise Success Story

Submitted By: Sandra Slivka, SN, Life Sciences/Biotech, CCC

Lessons From Life Sciences/Biotech Sector on Expanding Internship Opportunities

  • Type of Practice: Student Engagement and Career Awareness
  • Type(s) of Users Served: Associate Degree Students, External Certification Seekers, First-time Students, Lifelong Learning Students, Low Unit Certificate Students
  • Sector(s): Life Sciences/Biotech
  • Momentum Point(s) & Leading Indicators : MP 13, MP 27 (click here for description)
  • Regions Involved: Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego/Imperial
  • Colleges Involved: Fullerton College, Grossmont College, Pasadena City College, San Diego Miramar College
  • Other Organizations: San Diego Workforce Partnership (WIB); Pasadena Biosciences Collaborative; Amgen Biotech Experience (Amgen Fdn); Salk Institute; Oak Crest Institute of Science; The Scripps Research Institute

The Challenge

With the California Career Pathways Trust grants coming ‘on-line’, the challenge of bringing capacity to student internship and hands-on contextualized work experiences has been brought to the forefront. Internships and relevant work-based experience is both labor and personnel intensive, including student recruitment, mentor/host recruitment, and effective management of the student experience. As a result, most internship programs are available only to a select few students. Southern California colleges have developed two programs to address this challenge for the Life Sciences/Biotechnology sector. The two programs featured here serve the Life Sciences/Biotechnology sector but are “practices with promise” for any sector.

The Solution

The Life Sciences Summer Institute (LSSI) program, managed by the San Diego Workforce Partnership (WIB), began in 2004 with a DOL grant and is now about 50% self-sustaining. Interns take a one week, one-unit college course, which is followed by a seven-week internship paid by the host labs.

Another program, “Saturday Workday”, is available to high school students in the L.A./Orange Regions. Students spend a Saturday at Pasadena Biosciences Collaborative (PBC) or at Fullerton College. Students receive lab-based work experience and produce materials for the Amgen Biotech Experience (ABE) curriculum and lab kits used by high schools in the region. Mentors are seasoned college interns from PBC or ABE or PBC technicians.


While STEM students know first-hand what a doctor or nurse does, they generally have no idea what a scientist’s workday is like. LSSI and “Saturday Workday” provide this career awareness. San Diego/Imperial County LSSI students receive an in-depth, eight-week experience allowing them to make an informed decision about a career in science. The college class includes the ABE curriculum. “Saturday Workday” students experience a full day of work in a lab environment.

Students in both work-based internship programs acquire relevant skill sets for their resumes, making them competitive for their next opportunities, such as the paid internships at Oak Crest Institute of Science, Salk Institute, or The Scripps Research Institute.

The Data

• LSSI has served over 400 students to date. About 50% of LSSI students are retained by their host labs.
• In 2013, 12 “Saturday Workdays” at PBC and seven at Fullerton College trained around 350 high school and college students and produced the media, buffers, sterile broth and other materials necessary to serve 88 high schools, 148 teachers and 14,620 students with the ABE hands-on curriculum. Students write that these experiences aligned their careers with STEM areas.

Supporting Information

Learn more here!

Read more about the Amgen Biotech Experience (ABE) here!

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Common Metrics

Leading Indicators

LI 1 Alignment of skillsets within a program (or set of courses) to a particular occupation and the needs of the labor market
LI 2 Regionalization of stackable certificates aligned with a particular occupation ladder
LI 3 Alignment of a certificate with state-, industry-, nationally-, and/or employer- recognized certification
LI 4 Creation of a credit certificate from non-credit certificate
LI 5 Curriculum articulation along a career or multi-career educational pathway
LI 6 Updating the skills of faculty, teachers, counselors, and/or “supporting staff to student” to reflect labor market needs
LI 7 Integration of small business creation and/or exporting modules into for-credit curriculum in other disciplines

Momentum Points

Middle School Cluster
MP 1Completed an individual career and skills awareness workshop in middle school that included a normed assessment process and was in a Doing What Matters priority or emerging sector
Transition from Middle School to High School
MP 2Completed a bridge program between middle school and high school and revised student career/education plan
MP 3Completed a student orientation and assessment program while in middle school or high school
High School Cluster
MP 4Completed one course in high school within a CTE pathway
MP 5Completed two or more courses in high school within a CTE pathway
MP 6Completed a CTE articulated course
MP 6aSuccessfully completed a CTE dual enrollment course or credit by exam, with receipt of transcripted credits
MP 7Completed a program in high school within a CTE pathway
Transition from High School to College Cluster
MP 8Completed a bridge program between high school and college in a CTE pathway
MP 9Completed college orientation and assessment as a first-time community college student who entered a community college CTE pathway
MP 10Transitioned from a high school CTE pathway to a similar community college CTE pathway
MP 11Transferred from a high school CTE pathway to a similar CSU, UC or private/independent university CTE pathway
MP 12Completed a counselor-approved college education plan, for first-time community college students who enter a CTE pathway
MP 13During high school, participated in an internship, work-based learning, mentoring, or job shadowing program in a CTE pathway
MP 14Percentage of community college students, who participated in a high school CTE pathway, whose first math or English course was below transfer-level
Community College Cluster
MP 15Completed two courses in the same CTE pathway
MP 16Retention rate between Fall and Spring within a CTE pathway
MP 17Completed a non-CCCCO-approved certificate within a CTE pathway
MP 18Completed a CCCCO-approved certificate within a CTE pathway
General Education and Transfer Progress Cluster
MP 19Completed a work readiness soft skills training program (either stand-alone or embedded) within a CTE pathway
MP 20Completed college level English and/or math, for students in a CTE pathway
MP 21Completed the CSU-GE or IGETC transfer track/certificate for students in a CTE pathway
MP 22Completed requirements in a CTE pathway, but did not receive a certificate or a degree
MP 23Completed an associate degree in a CTE major
MP 24Completed an associate degree in a major different from student’s college CTE pathway
MP 25Transferred from community college to a four-year university in the same CTE pathway
MP 26Transferred from community college to a four-year university in a major different from their CTE pathway
Community College Transition To Workforce Cluster
MP 27Participated in a college internship or workplace learning program within a CTE pathway
MP 28Attained a job placement in the same or similar field of study as CTE pathway
MP 29Acquired an industry-recognized, third-party credential
Workforce Progress Cluster
MP 30Attained a wage gain in a career in the same or similar CTE pathway
MP 31Attained wages equal to or greater than the median regional wage for that CTE pathway
MP 32Attained wages greater than the regional standard-of-living wage
MP 33Participated in incumbent worker training or contract education in a CTE pathway (for example training for layoff aversion, meeting heightened occupational credentialing requirement, transitioning employees whose occupations are being eliminated, or up-skilling existing employees)
MP 34Exception


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