CEI to Expand Biosciences Training After Flinn Foundation Grant

CEI to Expand Biosciences Training After Flinn Foundation Grant

The Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation will benefit from a $351,520 three-year grant from the Flinn Foundation, a private, nonprofit, grantmaking organization that aims to improve the quality of life in Arizona to benefit future generations. The grant will be used to expand CEI’s LabForce’s professional development center with a state-of-the-art bioscience training lab designed to prepare Arizona’s workforce for biotech and life science careers.

The grant comes on the heels of rapid expansion for CEI over the last two years, hallmarked by the opening of LabForce in 2021 in the $77 million Phoenix Bioscience Core building located at the Phoenix Biomedical Campus in downtown Phoenix. Created by GateWay Community College and the Maricopa County Community College District to provide incubation space for bioscience entrepreneurs in Phoenix, CEI has been an industry-leading entrepreneurial incubator since 2013. Over the past nine years, CEI has helped start-ups raise over $160M of capital, create over 765 jobs, and provide a significant economic impact to the state.

“We are honored to receive this grant from the Flinn Foundation,” said Tom Schumann, CEI’s executive director. “This award will help us expand our bioscience training to help meet the workforce needs of the state’s fast-growing bioscience industry. LabForce serves an important need by producing talent ready to serve in their STEM-focused laboratory and manufacturing positions.”

According to the Arizona Commerce Authority, Arizona’s bioscience & health care industry is rapidly growing, becoming the second-fastest-growing state for job growth in the bioscience manufacturing and health care space. Advancing Arizona’s bioscience sector is the Flinn Foundation’s primary area of funding interest, in addition to supporting the Flinn Scholarship, a merit-based college scholarship program; arts and culture; and the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership and its flagship Flinn-Brown Fellowship.

“One of the challenges facing Arizona’s fast-growing bioscience sector is to keep up with the demand for a trained workforce,” said Tammy McLeod, President & CEO of the Flinn Foundation. “The training and development labs will play a crucial role in ensuring lab-ready workers, while also inspiring our employees of tomorrow to consider a career in the biosciences.”

With record bioscience investment in the state, CEI’s LabForce has significant expansion plans that will now be realized through the grant. The major initiatives include expanding its Certified Biotechnology Lab Professional training program, providing bioscience and biotechnology companies with rentable wet lab space, and increasing programming that helps meet the needs of the industry.

The grant officially starts this month and will be received by the Maricopa County Community College District Foundation (MCCF), the nonprofit organization designated by the Maricopa County Community College District to receive and manage gifts and grants on behalf of its 10 colleges.

“This grant highlights the ongoing commitment to workforce development we have as an organization and share with the Flinn Foundation,” said Brian Spicker, President and CEO, MCCF. “Their support of numerous efforts since 1965 is a testament to their dedication to improving the quality of life of Arizonans. Ultimately, their involvement in the state’s bioscience sector will result in long-term success.”

For more information about CEI and LabForce, visit www.ceigateway.com.

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