A high tech workforce development initiative known as Bio-1 is seeking proposals to help it spend $5.1 million in grant money to promote bioscience career training in central New Jersey.

Launched in November, 2007, Bio-1 seeks to expand employment opportunities and to create high-skill, high-wage jobs in Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, and Somerset counties. The initiative received initial Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) funding for $5 million from the U.S. Department of Labor. Administered through Rutgers University, Bio-1 is a partnership among life science business leaders, workforce development agencies, educational institutions, and workers. It links education to industry through internships, cooperatives, and mentoring.

The Bio-1 partnership, named for the cluster of biotechnical firms stretched along the Route 1 corridor from Rutgers University to Princeton, endeavors to make central New Jersey the next “hot spot” for the global bioscience industry.

The current grant proposal is open to 501(c)3 non-profits, individual businesses or business partnerships, educational entities, economic development organizations, workforce intermediaries, and community-based organizations. Proposals may be made in any of four categories:

Development of a bioscience career training program for workforce system career counselors.

Integration of entrepreneurial concepts and thinking into biotechnology curriculum for high school students (aged 16 and up).

Development of a neuroscience network and event.

Development of innovative programs to excite young people (age 16 and up) about the biosciences, especially focusing on under-represented groups.

Mary Ellen Clark, executive director of the program, says that the proposals should involve new ways of collaboration. The deadline for proposals is Friday, September 26. More information and the RFP Guidelines are available on Bio-1’s website, www.bio-one.org.

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