1 PROGRAM OVERVIEW
2 EDGE is a great example of a successful public-private partnership, which has created a terrific roadmap helping to produce a qualified and skilled workforce for a very important emerging industry sector, both now and far into the future. It's a California success story. San Diego's EDGE Initiative created curriculum and training tools with their Green Innovation Challenge grant that can also be used and adopted by other regions and organizations, which will continue to leverage the value of California's investment. Victoria Bradshaw former Secretary, California Labor and Workforce Development Agency
3 OVERVIEW The EDGE (Educating and Developing Workers for the Green Economy) Initiative received a State of California Green Innovation Challenge grant in 2010, funded through the state s Contingency Fund, the Federal Workforce Investment Act and the Wagner-Peyser Act. The grants are intended to help meet current employment needs in the green economy, while also getting unemployed and underemployed people back to work in an innovative field with tremendous potential. The ultimate goal is to create an infrastructure capable of supporting employment growth in the green economy through the next decade. The EDGE Initiative proposal was submitted for funding by the San Diego Biofuels Initiative, a collaborative that includes CleanTECH San Diego, BIOCOM, the BIOCOM Institute, San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, San Diego Center for Algae Biotechnology, UC San Diego, UCSD Extension, San Diego State University, University of San Diego, MiraCosta College and the San Diego Workforce Partnership. This group includes forward-looking policy makers, experienced life science veterans, world-class researchers, and an industry support system recognized for its depth and familiarity with the demands a nascent industry faces as it grows. The EDGE Initiative s focus is alternative and renewable fuels and industrial biotechnology. Over the last two years, the EDGE Initiative has trained and placed hundreds of workers in these industries by creating curriculum and career-focused tools that will continue to set the standard for workforce training in San Diego County, Imperial County and other regions. San Diego Center for Algae Biotechnology Facility
4 INDUSTRY San Diego County s employment in biofuels is growing at a rapid pace, with jobs in the sector doubling between 2009 and An economic impact analysis, prepared by the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) and sponsored by CleanTECH San Diego and Bank of America, shows that in 2011 there were 466 workers engaged in biofuels research. These jobs generated more than $41 million in payroll and $80.9 million in economic activity for the San Diego region. In turn, the $80.9 million generates economic activity in other local industries which results in an additional $12.5 million in payroll and approximately $32.9 million in additional economic activity, attributable to the goods and services that companies engaged in biofuel purchase from local vendors. Additionally, according to a recent analysis by BIOCOM and BayBio, the state s industrial biotechnology industry (which includes biofuels as well as chemicals, improved feedstock and genomics) experienced an aggregate increase of 75 percent in the total number of employees since 2006 and has maintained a significant amount of commercial production within the state. We ve gone from zero to 500 jobs in the last four years. If algae works and we re proving every day in the lab and in field experiments that the economic model for production can work we re going to be looking at 50,000 jobs, not 500. Stephen Mayfield, Ph.D. Director, San Diego Center for Algae Biotechnology John Dove Issacs Chair of Natural Philosophy, Division of Biological Sciences UC San Diego
5 Much of the success of the EDGE Initiative is due to the involvement of our region s biofuels and industrial biotech industry leaders. Without them, the development of a program that specifically meets their employment needs both now and in the future would not have been possible. As the industry continues to develop, the courses will be adapted to meet future needs. Jason Anderson Vice President CleanTECH San Diego PROGRAM To launch the program, an EDGE Industry Advisory Council was formed to assist in training program development. In addition, a needs assessment was conducted in the form of a workforce survey. Partners participated at numerous industry conferences and forums to enable diverse stakeholders to meet and share information. The EDGE Initiative surveyed employers to uncover commercialization barriers and identify priority workforce needs. Armed with this knowledge, partners were able to better understand market priorities and hiring practices in order to properly tailor the EDGE program to meet growing industry needs and energize economic engines within the sector. Industry Advisory Members included: Bank of America, Buster Biofuels, Earthrise Nutritionals, General Atomics, Green Talent Staffing, Kai Bioenergy, Kent BioEnergy, Life Technologies, Pearson Fuels, Sapphire Energy, San Diego Gas & Electric, SG Biofuels, Synthetic Genomics, UBS Financial Services, Cellana and Chubb Group of Insurance Companies. Partners in the EDGE Initiative acknowledged that a critical component to creating a successful green career pathway program was to ensure that a feedback loop was in place. Meetings were held with key regional, state and federal officials as well as other stakeholders to educate them about the EDGE Initiative and to engage in dialogue about the challenges and opportunities associated with course development. Based on industry feedback, training components were created under the EDGE Initiative. Employers indicated that if participants started working in their facilities and met performance objectives, they would likely convert those participants to regular employees. These placement opportunities would also give participants the needed work experience that hiring managers and human resource professionals look for in potential employees. More than half of the companies on the Industry Advisory Council offered internships and worksite training for prospective employees to introduce them to their companies, enhance recruitment, and advance labor force entry from diverse groups. EDGE Biofuels Science Technician Certificate students engaged in the Aquatic Microbiology Laboratory course.
6 Anyone can work in biotech or the biofuels industry. The skills can be learned and training can enable people to get good-paying jobs in a growing industry. When developing curriculum for the EDGE Initiative we structured the program with a base of foundational classes so students will build technical skills that are transferable between biotech and biofuels. Mike Fino Professor and Program Coordinator, Biotechnology Program MiraCosta College SCOPE The scope of the program ranges from technician training to advanced scientific research, echoing the range of positions currently available in the industry: Biomass Production Training Certificate: This certificate provides a foundation in the technologies employed by biotechnology companies engaged in the production of microalgal biomass for biofuels. It is also applicable for other biomass production careers. Biofuels Science Technician Certificate: Tracks - Biological/Biofuels Lab Technician, Microbiological/ Crop Management, Biofuels Analytical Chemist: This certificate provides hands-on technical training in biofuels production and the analysis and processing required to excel in a management-level biofuels career encompassing three areas: analytical chemistry; microbiological/crop management; or biological/biofuels lab techniques. Advanced Training in Biofuels Production Certificate (Masters of Advanced Studies): This degree will build on current knowledge and help improve the science of biofuels, preparing degree holders to assume responsibility for important research in the growing biofuels industry. This provides technical knowledge and hands-on experience in biofuels production, analysis and processing, as well as basic biotechnology business and entrepreneurial skills. Industrial Biotech Immersion Program: This online certificate program uses industry-driven curriculum to provide individuals the business acumen and soft skills they need to successfully transition into industrial biotech careers. Biocollaborative Web Portal: A primary challenge facing the clean technology industry in meeting its workforce needs is increasing awareness, knowledge, and experience for this sector. BIOCOM, the BIOCOM Institute and the Biofuels Initiative have piloted a strategy for addressing this central need with the BioCollaborative, an online portal for connecting job seekers with industry. This portal will expand to provide workers with job search assistance resources and direct connections to biofuels firms. The certificate programs are administered by MiraCosta College and UCSD Extension. The Master s program is currently under development in the Division of Biological Sciences at UC San Diego. To date, 311 students have been enrolled in EDGE training programs and 102 have been placed in positions or entered graduate school.
7 First graduating class of Biofuels Science Technician Certificate, Certificate students in the Microbiology/Crop Management track. PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS Although open to any student, courses created by the EDGE Initiative were initially designed for individuals looking to work in a high-growth industry, individuals transitioning from declining industries, professionals making a career change and veterans transitioning into a civilian work environment. With the inclusion of the Industrial Biotech Immersion program, courses were designed to be accessible to all types of students. In the future, the certificate curriculum will be made available to any California university or college expanding training opportunities to those who want to gain basic science training to enter the biofuels industry. UCSD Extension will also be offering many of the Biofuels Science Technician Certificate courses online, expanding the training opportunities on a national and international scale. The EDGE Initiative was able to attract an exceptional caliber of participants due to its unique industry-driven curriculum, BioCollaborative online community, and wide breadth of work experience opportunities. The individuals who participated in EDGE programs represented unemployed and incumbent workers who demonstrated intellectual rigor and a passion for contributing to the future of our bioeconomy. Feedback from employers who hired EDGE graduates indicates that the training and skill building provided by the EDGE Initiative truly gives participants an advantage in today s highly competitive job market. Kristie Grover Executive Director BIOCOM Institute "The EDGE program gave me the opportunity to expand on my undergraduate training in biology and apply it to the field of biofuels. I learned not only the biology and chemistry behind biofuels, but I also gained valuable hands on experience with the techniques, systems and processes utilized by many algae biotech companies in the industry." Alex Lewis EDGE Intern, Biofuels Science Technician Certificate Now works at Synthetic Genomics "Participating in the EDGE Initiative training gave me the opportunity to network with people who are in the industry - not just algae - but all of the biotech/bio-science community here in San Diego. I was able to get a job and start a career. As a veteran, it was a chance to transfer skills I learned in the service to a new discipline that provides tremendous opportunity for growth. Eric Lessert Completed Biomass Production Training Program at MiraCosta College Now working in the biotechnology industry
8 INTERNSHIPS In addition to coursework, paid internships provided EDGE Initiative participants an opportunity to work in biofuels and industrial biotechnology companies. Internships were tailored by employers to a participant's education level and capabilities, providing hands-on laboratory experience. The experience also enabled interns to learn more about career options and receive mentoring from industry professionals. Between June 2011 and June 2012, 100 paid internships were made available through a competitive application process. In addition, EDGE partners organized a networking session for students, which allowed them to directly communicate with companies about potential career opportunities and jobs. The internships were not just a boon to trainees. Small companies, such as Buster Biofuels, welcomed the opportunity to have interns supported by the grant. We ve got people wearing lots of different hats here. We were open to having interns with no previous experience because here they can learn from the ground up. If someone is undecided about what way to go in terms of further education, a small company is the way to see it all. Buster Halterman CEO, Buster Biofuels Sapphire Energy was pleased to take part in hosting interns through the EDGE program, knowing that its pool of candidates provides some of the most promising talent in the field. We see industry training programs, like EDGE, that provide real-world experience to a young work force as a vital component in the technological progress, support, and development of the biofuels industry as it grows. Tim Zenk Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Sapphire Energy Students inoculating algae ponds with bag cultures grown during the Advanced Biomass Production course of the Biofuels Science Technician Certificate
9 THE FUTURE OF THE EDGE INITIATIVE The EDGE Initiative brought together a diverse group of stakeholders with a common goal: to build the biofuels and industrial biotech industry in San Diego. A significant result of the EDGE Initiative was the creation of a new collaboration among parties interested in the continued development and support of the region s biofuels and industrial biotech sector. Across the board, participants cite networking as a key benefit of program involvement. The EDGE Initiative was developed with the flexibility to take the model and export it to other industry associations and learning institutions across California, and potentially the globe. Funding is currently being pursued to take EDGE training curricula and convert it into online course modules for significantly increased access. The Industrial Biotech Immersion Program, an online certificate program, is available to give individuals the business acumen and soft skills needed to successfully transition into industrial biotech careers. The Biomass Production Training Certificate and Biofuels Science Technician Certificate will continue to be offered at MiraCosta College and UCSD Extension. Scholarships for the 2013 Biofuels Science Technician Certificate will be available courtesy of the Legler Benbough Foundation. Shorter, specialized biofuels certificates are also being developed for 2013 at UCSD Extension. For more information, please contact: Jason Anderson at or Kristie Grover at Photo Credits: Unless otherwise noted, photographs are provided courtesy of SD-CAB. Designed by Eddie Grace Creative Media Group