The Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation, or CEI, LabForce was awarded $1 million to support a new biomedical technician training program on the Phoenix Bioscience Core.

The funding, part of a Community Project Funding grant program, will primarily support CEI LabForce’s operations in the Wexford Innovation Labs, the new fifth-floor co-working space opening at 850 PBC later this year. The money will go toward the development of curriculum and program staff, and laboratory support. The primary focus for the curriculum include Next Generation Sequencing, which analyzes nucleotides, DNA or RNA by performing a variety of applications and studying biological systems leading to new medical breakthroughs, according to a press release from Maricopa Community Colleges. The Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation is part of the Maricopa Community Colleges system.

“As a result of Arizona’s rapidly growing bioscience sector, the Maricopa Community Colleges have taken critical steps in investments and resources needed to support the expansion of current workforce development opportunities for our student population,” said Governing Board President Marie Sullivan in a statement. “This program is unique because not only do we train the traditional laboratory technician, but we provide the bioscience employers with the niche skill sets necessary to operate and elevate their bioscience businesses.”

The funding was formally announced on August 8 in a press conference held by MCCCD leadership, as well as Arizona Congressman Greg Stanton, who championed the funding as part of the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.

“Maricopa Community Colleges provide students with the tools that could help them find the next scientific breakthrough or discover lifesaving cures—and they attract companies who are looking for a highly skilled and developed workforce,” Stanton said. “These companies bring jobs to the Valley, bolster our economy and help keep our graduates here at home.”

As the Phoenix Bioscience Core continues to develop, more and more life science companies have called the PBC home. In order for those companies to continue to grow and thrive, the ecosystem needs to provide talent and workforce development programs.

“For the Phoenix Bioscience Core to be successful, it’s critical that we have enough talent in Phoenix capable of supporting the companies we attract here,” PBC Executive Director David Krietor said. “This workforce training program and the Wexford Innovation Labs are essential pieces in further developing our life sciences ecosystem, and we’re very supportive of Maricopa Community Colleges, CEI LabForce and Congressman Stanton for their efforts on this initiative.”

The Wexford Innovation Labs will be comprised of nearly 35,000 square feet of flexible lab, office and lab support facilities designed to meet the rigorous needs of emerging life science companies. The space will also include shared lab space, weekly networking and educational programming, and flexible terms for tenants. Companies will be able to reserve labs of 250 to 1,000 square feet and office space of 1 to 12 desk. The space is designed to accommodate life science startups in need of office and lab space but do not need large scale facilities. Wexford Innovation Labs will be operated and programmed by the CEI Labforce.