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CAST Joins Effort to Improve Pathways for Diverse Learners to BioTech and BioMedical Careers

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Date:
Monday, June 3, 2019

Two workers in lab coats and gloves working in a laboratory

Adding to its growing portfolio of workforce and adult-learning partnerships, CAST today announced a new, two-year project with the New Hampshire-based Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI) to seek ways to help students from diverse and underrepresented populations choose and embark on careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), specifically biofabrication.

With funding from the US Department of Defense, ARMI is leading a public-private effort called BioFabUSA to scale up the manufacture and delivery of biomaterial, including cells and tissues, to meet the growing needs of the life-science industries. One major challenge: to educate and train a workforce in this emerging field where the skills and competencies needed are still being defined. 

“Emerging industries are turning into fertile grounds of innovation in education. Creative partnerships between public and private sectors, like ARMI and CAST, are preparing student biofabrication tool kits and curriculums that will give young people a head start on their career so that their skills will match the real needs of businesses,” says Dr. Mary Stewart, Director, Education Workforce Development, ARMI. “The unique learning framework developed by CAST allows us to prototype the resources necessary to show students the varied pathways to a career in this exciting, life-giving area of biofabrication.”

ARMI has chosen CAST to collaborate for the next two years on the design of a prototype career exploration toolkit for career and technical education (CTE) schools that showcase the varied pathways into biofabrication. These resources—which include video profiles of industry personnel—will aid students, educators and guidance counselors who may not yet recognize the career opportunities in this emerging field and how to prepare for those opportunities. CAST will work with high school students, teachers, and industry advisors to co-design and universally design the toolkit.

The vision is to develop a national resource that can help to raise awareness of this growing field and increase the number of students pursuing careers in biofabrication and other STEM professions. This, in turn, will draw talent to these fast-growing fields from populations that are typically underrepresented in STEM fields, including students of color, those with learning disabilities, English language learners, and students from low-income families.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with ARMI on finding ways to improve career prospects for all learners in the biofabrication field,” says Dr. Sam Johnston, CAST’s Director of Postsecondary & Workforce Development.

About CAST
CAST is a nonprofit organization that believes learning should have no limits. CAST created the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework, and UDL remains one of our core levers of change to help make learning inclusive and transformative for everyone. CAST conducts research and development, provides professional learning and technical assistance, and publishes leading-edge media for the education field. CAST —Until Learning Has No Limits®

About ARMI
The Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute based in Manchester, New Hampshire, is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to make practical the large-scale manufacturing of engineered tissues and tissue-related technologies, to benefit existing industries and grow new ones. Learn more at armiusa.org