By Kathleen Weiss, Executive Director of the BioTechnical Institute of Maryland
Last week, we had the opportunity to host Governor Martin O’Malley at BTI and showcase how we contribute to Maryland’s innovation economy through innovative, educational programs.
As the only non-profit in the State of Maryland that is focused on providing tuition-free training to low-income city residents in the growing bio-science industry, BTI plays an important role in our community, and in the future of our State. Our ultimate goal is to train and place participants in fulfilling, stable careers with livable wages and benefits to support their families. We also work to secure opportunities for our participants to further their education, while enabling them to become an integral part of Maryland’s growing and innovative bio-science community. Our mission aligns with Governor O’Malley’s strategic goals to support job growth and increase the number of Marylanders who receive skills training.
While BTI is well-known as one of the many programs working in Maryland to bridge the skills gap and strengthen our State’s robust life sciences industry, there is no better way to highlight our accomplishments than by telling the story of one of our graduates.
Davona Moore entered the Lab Associates program in 2001. She was underemployed and working at Johns Hopkins, transporting patients and assisting nurses, when one of the doctors told her about BTI. When she started the program, she was living in low-income housing.
In talking with Davona today, she credits her success to the strong support system of her peers in the program. She explains, “We all studied together every evening and we were determined that every one of us would graduate from the program.” She was successful.
A&G Pharmaceuticals offered Davona an internship opportunity which turned into a full-time job after she graduated from BTI. She stayed with the company and moved up the career ladder. While there, she entered the University of Baltimore and was awarded her BA in Business Administration. She later acquired her Masters in Procurement and Acquisitions from Webster University. Today, she is a homeowner and is currently employed by Qiagen, a global bioscience company in Germantown, MD, where she manages procurement operations.
Davona is one of the many examples of how skills training can improve lives by gainfully employing more people and contributing to our economy. She is exactly why Governor O’Malley has set the goal to increase the number of Marylanders who receive skills training 20% by 2012.
BTI has been highly successful in placing Marylanders into life science careers, and we look forward to telling more stories like Davona’s.
Martin O'Malley is the governor of Maryland. He writes a regular blog for his official website.