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February 15, 2023

ConnCAT launches new biopharma training program for New Haven residents

Photo | Contributed BioLaunch Director OrLando Yarborough III

Job-training specialist ConnCAT will team up with Yale University on a new program to develop bioscience workers called BioLaunch.

Backed by $2.5 million in state funds, the new program trains and arranges internships at New Haven companies for residents of the city’s Newhallville/Dixwell neighborhoods without college degrees. BioLaunch is designed to prepare candidates for careers as entry-level technicians in biotechnology and life sciences laboratories.

ConnCAT CEO Erik Clemons said, “As New Haven blooms into a booming biopharma hub, we want to ensure New Haven natives can partake in the overall success of the industry.”

The first cohort of 15 BioLaunch candidates will start in the spring, with a focus on 18- to 26-year-olds who don’t plan to attend college. The program consists of a four-month training program ending in a paid internship at local bioscience companies. Trainees will get monthly stipends in addition to support services such as childcare and transportation.

A second cohort of 15 candidates will start in the fall, with $230,000 allocated for support services for both cohorts, ConnCAT said in a statement.

Yale Professor Craig Crews, founder of biotech firm Arvinas, has taken a lead role in the new program. 

“We started BioLaunch to help those in New Haven who might need a hand in getting into the biotech industry as well as to help the industry recognize the many talents that our local workforce has to offer,” Crews said. “BioLaunch is particularly fortunate to partner with ConnCAT, which has demonstrated its strong commitment to the community for over a decade by offering those in need with critical job training.”

BioLaunch Director OrLando Yarborough III said, “We’re working to create a pipeline for folks with a passion for science to break into an industry they may have otherwise  found difficult to enter. This work is about meeting the needs of the industry while also working to support young people in our community with an opportunity that can help them embark on a new career path in biopharma lab operations.” 

Contact Liese Klein at

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