A new initiative in Greater Philadelphia is bolstering the growth of the region’s life sciences sector and strengthening the industry’s robust talent pipeline. The Keystone LifeSci Collaborative (KLSC), which launched on Wednesday, March 6, 2024, is a business-centered forum supported by new funding from the American Rescue Plan through the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Good Jobs Challenge.

KLSC is guided by a steering committee with members in life sciences, workforce development, education, and economic development working to address ongoing shared business priorities and enhance regional competitiveness in the life sciences industry in Southeastern Pennsylvania’s counties – Philadelphia, Montgomery, Bucks, Delaware, Chester, and Berks. The Chamber’s Select Greater Philadelphia is supporting KLSC’s mission with its Manager of Life Sciences and Healthcare Initiatives, Bryan Tsao, Ph.D., serving on its steering committee alongside committee members from the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative, The Wistar Institute, Montgomery County Community College, Life Sciences PA, and SMART Bio Works.

“With the support from the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Good Jobs Challenge, we are excited to focus on this prime opportunity to create sustainable talent pipelines and solve industry challenges across the region with our partners,” said Cait Garozzo, Executive Director of the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative, a workforce development organization and the backbone behind the Keystone LifeSci Collaborative. “We thank our public sector and community partners, life sciences business leadership, and members of the steering committee for their commitment to the Keystone LifeSci Collaborative, and we can’t wait to get started on the work.”

A Next Gen Sector Partnership

KLSC will follow the nationally recognized “Next Gen Sector Partnership” model, an approach where business leaders champion shared solutions. The model, active in 100 regions and 20 states, draws on industry leaders’ expertise and support from government and nonprofit partners to design strategies that strengthen the industry, foster good job growth, and expand equitable access to high-quality career opportunities, partners said in the announcement.

With the American Rescue Plan’s Good Jobs Challenge funding, KLSC will implement strategic initiatives to support emerging life science businesses, including workforce development, infrastructure enhancement, and targeted support.

The funding allocated to KLSC is part of a larger $22.8 million Good Jobs Challenge award to the region to spur job growth, including in the energy, building trades, and construction sectors. The goal is to create 3,000 quality, family-sustaining jobs in Southeastern Pennsylvania. You can read more about the region’s collaborative effort to apply for the award, which was led by Philadelphia Works, at this link.

Five Action Priorities

Leaders from 22 companies, including Adaptimmune, Almac Group, BioAnalysis, Century Therapeutics, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Integral Molecular, Iovance Biotherapeutics, Lampire Biological Laboratories, Pfizer, and VintaBio, participated in KLSC’s inaugural meeting on March 6, 2024 at the West Philadelphia Marriott in Conshohocken. The discussion focused on opportunities for industry growth, stability, and vitality in the region, as well as the region’s advantages. The group identified five action priorities that they aim to focus on:

  • Strengthening business-to-business connectivity
  • Developing a coordinated strategy for building a talent pipeline
  • Influencing policy
  • Raising awareness of life sciences careers
  • Marketing the region as a life sciences hub

Following the meeting, more than 50 public and community partners convened for a strategic discussion and action planning around the defined priorities. Among the participants were Bucks County Community College, CIC Philadelphia, the City of Philadelphia Department of Commerce, Drexel University, Philadelphia Education Fund, and University City Science Center.

“The Keystone LifeSci Collaborative will support the training of the next generation of life sciences talent across the region, and the Chamber is very proud to be a key partner of this initiative,” Tsao said. “We will be taking a very active role in supporting the industry-identified priorities through convening regional life science stakeholders, amplifying progress, and advancing regional messaging to attract and retain companies, capital, and talent.”

There are many ways to join the Chamber and our partners in supporting KLSC and amplifying its story. Please start by sharing this article with your professional networks.

For more information, please contact Bryan Tsao at [email protected].