STEMup, a Duquesne University program to provide tailored educational and placement opportunities for workers in the western Pennsylvania biotechnology sector, recently received a $300,000 grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation.

Currently in development, STEMup will unite public and private companies, educational institutions, and industry partners to develop a collaborative “eco-network” that educates and trains workers for employment opportunities, especially in the biotech sector.

“Given its business and educational institutions, western Pennsylvania has the potential to be a leading innovator in the biotechnology field,” said Dr. Don Very, director of the Master’s Degree Biotechnology Program at Duquesne and co-PI of STEMup. “The key to unlocking that potential is to develop a multi-generational, diverse workforce with 21st century skills across multiple levels, from entry-level to leadership positions.”

The grant will help plan and establish a collaborative STEM-focused network of regional stakeholders to support and offer opportunities to students, particularly those from underserved communities. STEMup will increase awareness of STEM-related career opportunities, develop training curricula, and establish a mentoring program for K-12, non-degree seeking adults, undergraduate and graduate students.

“The ultimate goal is that STEMup fosters a feeder process that helps to drive employment in the future,” said Dr. Neil Campbell, a Biotechnology Program faculty member and co-PI of STEMup. “Through this collaborative process, we plan to ensure relevant and impactful training experiences that prepare students to step into exciting positions and revolutionize the region’s workforce, while increasing biotech sector employment in the next three to five years.”

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 8,000 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University's academic programs, community service and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim.

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November 30, 2023