Pierce College launches its first four-year degree, in biomanufacturing

Rep. Brad Sherman says program will open doors to students from communities often left behind

Los Angeles Daily News, April 19, 2023

The Los Angeles Community College District this month celebrated the launch of a biomanufacturing education program at Los Angeles Pierce College in Woodland Hills designed to prepare students for, and bring fresh eyes to, this fast-growing career path.

The degree in biomanufacturing  – the manufacturing side of the biotechnology industry – marks the first-ever four-year degree at Pierce. It is backed by a $2 million Community Project Funding grant sponsored by Congressman Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks), whose district includes Pierce College.

“Biotech is not just a growing industry, but a critical one, as we have seen from the innovations that helped fight against diseases like COVID,” said Sherman in a statement. “This program will open doors for students from communities who have far too often been left behind and will give them the tools to pursue a wide range of careers in biotechnology.”

Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) Chancellor Francisco C. Rodriguez, called it “a great day for the Los Angeles Community College District and an even better one for students passionate about science and technology. Soon, all students will be able to pursue this high growth profession and career, and earn a bachelor’s degree at a fraction of the cost as compared to four-year institutions.”

Average salary for a biotech job is about $100,000, according to the Los Angeles Business Journal. Women, students of color, and those from underserved communities are often underrepresented, so the Pierce College  program will provide affordable education options for students interested in life sciences.

LACCD Board President David Vela called the program “a significant step for equity in the life sciences,” adding that will help students from all backgrounds to “do the type of work that can change the world.”

Officials also said that the program is open to students trying to break in, those already in the industry who want more degrees or certifications, and those wishing to change their jobs.