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San Diego Biotechs Team Up To Give Free Job Guidance To Veterans

Aired 3/5/13 on KPBS News.

Some San Diego veterans headed back to boot camp on Tuesday. This time it was to learn about careers in the biotech industry.

More than 30 San Diego veterans attended an all-day BioCollaborative conference in Point Loma on Tuesday in hopes of eventually landing a career in the life sciences industry.

They received training and guidance from a team of San Diego biotech leaders, who said veterans have the technology skills they want. Like Thomas Citrano, an infantry officer in the Marine Corps, who has served for 22 years. He’s getting ready to transition out of the military and wants to launch a career in renewable energy or biofuels. He said the conference was very helpful.

"I’ve learned quite a bit, and the talent that they brought here to be on the panel, and then to interact with here, is incredibly impressive," said Citrano. "I’m very excited about what’s been going on so far."

Following the conference, the veterans are invited to take an 80 hour online training course. After they complete the course, they’ll receive an industry endorsed certificate to bring them closer to a biotech career.

Kristie Grover, executive director for the BIOCOM Institute said the veterans’ skill-building and mentoring continues until they get a job.

“We tell them about jobs, give them training on how to brand themselves, on interviewing -- there’s a whole host of things that we do," said Grover, "as well as constantly staying in contact through workshops like this where we bring life science individuals and professionals to them.”

Grover said 600 people have completed the certificate program and 70 percent of those are now employed in the biotech industry.

The BioCollaborative conferences are held monthly and free to veterans and active military personnel.

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