Workforce Challenge: Cell & Gene Therapy Manufacturing


Seattle’s nascent approach to building up the cell and gene therapy workforce could provide lessons for other regions to develop the field and fill their employment pipeline.

“The biotech industry has been around for decades here, whereas manufacturing is relatively newer, and so we’re just in the process of really growing that pipeline,” says Marc Cummings, CEO of Life Science Washington.

To support this growth, the industry is pioneering ways to educate the growing biomanufacturing workforce. In 2021, Shoreline Community College launched a technical program supported by Bristol Myers Squibb and Seagen (acquired by Pfizer). The companies pay for a ten-week biomanufacturing certificate course and provide a paid follow-up internship, drawing applicants from immigrant communities, people re-entering the workforce and local high schools.

“Our certificate is becoming known, so students are getting hired even at other companies where they didn’t intern,” says program leader Rachel Rawle.