NECC’s Lab Science Program Receives Platinum Endorsement
The Laboratory Sciences Associate Degree Program at Northern Essex Community College has received a Platinum Endorsement for 2014, the highest endorsement award given by the Massachusetts Life Sciences Education Consortium (MLSEC).
This marks the second time that the college’s Laboratory Sciences Program has been recognized by the consortium. In 2011, the program received a Gold Endorsement which, at that time, was the highest level given. NECC is one of just five Massachusetts community colleges to have been granted the Platinum Endorsement.
NECC’s lab science degree successfully prepares graduating students for transfer and/or careers in the life sciences field. The degree program was designed in response to a widespread need locally for skilled lab technicians and offers three areas of concentration: biotechnology, environmental sciences, and chemical analysis.
Each year MLSEC, a partnership initiative of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation (MassBioEd), assesses and recognizes community college programs that successfully collaborate with the life industry through their offering of externships, career advising, and rigorous training in their fields. The assessment process was updated this year to reflect the new and impressive ways that colleges like NECC are working to meet industry demands.
Lance Hartford, executive director of MassBioEd, suggests that the revitalized endorsement process will boost success rates among life sciences students in the community college system. “We believe the [2014 endorsement] process encourages program excellence and offers employers an accessible tool for assessing program utility in preparing people for the industry” he says.
Since its introduction in 2009, NECC’s laboratory sciences program has taken great strides to ensure that its students graduate with all the necessary skills and training to excel in the life and lab sciences industry. The past five years have welcomed a variety of positive changes to the program, including an increased focus on first-year foundational knowledge, externship opportunities, guided career support, and independent research.
The prospects for success continue to grow as the program expands its offerings. Many NECC laboratory science graduates have gone on to pursue higher degrees and gain desirable industry positions thanks to the externships and career training opportunities that were made available to them as students.
“Our graduates have worked very hard to get where they are and I’m proud to have been able to help them get there,” says Marguerite White-Jeanneau, professor of natural sciences, of the program’s success. She adds that recent program endorsements have attracted the attention of area employers interested in knowing more about NECC’s laboratory science graduates. “We hope the new endorsement will help increase these opportunities,” she says.
NECC’s laboratory sciences faculty was recognized at the MLSEC annual awards ceremony on December 2nd. David Cedrone, associate commissioner for economic and workforce development and STEM, and Matt Digelman, CEO of Burning Glass Technologies, served as guest speakers.
For more information on Northern Essex’s Associate of Science Degree in Lab Science, visit the website.