Education

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Education Development Center:

Promoting Biology to Enhance Career Opportunities

Education Development Center:

Promoting Biology to Enhance Career Opportunities

Education Development Center (EDC), a global nonprofit organization, advances long-term solutions to improve education, health, and economic opportunity across 80 countries around the world. Since 2013, EDC has administered the Amgen Foundation’s Amgen Biotech Experience (ABE), a high school science outreach program that recruits, trains, and supports high school teachers—in communities in which Amgen has a corporate presence—to bring ABE molecular biology labs into their classrooms. Amgen is one of the world’s largest biotechnology companies, and its ABE program reaches nearly 1,500 teachers and 90,000 students annually; to date, it has touched the lives of more than 700,000 students.

In 2019, the Foundation awarded $693,000 to EDC to launch a new ABE site in Pittsburgh, the first one beyond Amgen’s global corporate footprint. Although EDC will administer the grant by providing technical assistance, as well as training, curriculum, and lab materials to participating teachers, the Citizen Science Lab (CSL), a Foundation grantee that provides advanced biotechnology education to children, youth, and adults across Pittsburgh, will receive a majority of the funding to deliver the ABE program.

At its Hill District and South Hills locations, CSL will recruit and train teachers, who, in turn, will take the ABE curriculum, equipment, and lab materials back to their classrooms, reaching an estimated 18,000 students over two years. In a partnership that is part of the initiative, the Amgen Foundation and CSL will implement LabXchange, an online platform to provide ABE teachers and students with virtual labs before conducting hands-on experiments. This platform will help students increase their proficiency in biology, which, last year, was at basic or below basic levels for nearly half of all students in Allegheny County. Enhancing their knowledge of this subject not only will enable students to participate in science competitions and pursue higher education and careers in healthcare, the life sciences, and biotechnology industries, but also will increase their chances for economic mobility.