Memphis Bioworks Workforce Development Completes U.S. Department of Labor Grant with All Performance Measures Surpassed

H-1B Technical Skills Training Grant focused on providing job training for unemployed American workers

MEMPHIS, Tennessee, December 13, 2016 – Memphis Bioworks today announced that it has completed and far surpassed all performance measures in a U.S. Department of Labor grant first awarded in 2011. The grant tasked Memphis Bioworks with delivering high-growth job training and job-placement assistance targeting long-term unemployed and underemployed American workers in fields in which employers are currently using the H-1B visa program. H-1B visas are granted to nonimmigrant foreign workers in specialty fields, such as advanced manufacturing, energy, health care and information technology.

For all categories being measured in the program by the U.S. Department of Labor, the training initiatives surpassed goals for success. A complete list of goals and metrics follows:

Performance Outcome Measure Program-to-Date Actuals Goal % of Goal
Participants Served 422 390 108%
Participants Beginning Education /Training Activities 362 345 105%
Participants Completing Education/Training Activity 325 276 118%
Completers who Received a Degree or Other Credential 271 248 109%
Completers who Entered Unsubsidized Employment Unemployed at Enrollment 98 225 101%
Employed at Enrollment 129
Participants Retaining Employment in the 1st and 2nd Quarters Following Initial Placement 216 200 108%

Through the H-1B Technical Skills Training Grant, Memphis Bioworks Foundation led a consortium of training providers that included Southwest Tennessee Community College, Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Memphis and Whiteville, Lab Four, Seedco and Workforce Investment Network (WIN) to train workers in Shelby and Fayette counties who were unemployed for at least six months, or who were underemployed. The targeted training categories and occupational fields were Assistant Animal Lab Technician, Biotechnology Technician, Health Information Technician, Implementation Support Specialist, Network & Computer System Administrator, and Certified Associate in Project Management, Database Administrator, Information Security Specialist, and Computer Programmer/Software Engineer.

“We are proud to have been able to lead such a successful program in our region for the U.S. Department of Labor,” said Steven Bares, PhD, president and executive director, Memphis Bioworks Foundation.  “Each one of our partners played a critical role in this initiative’s success. This represents a victory on a personal level for each local individual trained and employed, and a victory for the community as we have expanded skill levels in the Mid-South in growing technology fields.”

Memphis Bioworks was one of only 36 public-private partnerships in 20 states that received a grant in the Department of Labor program to reduce the reliance on H-1B visas. This program is one of several workforce development initiatives led by Memphis Bioworks and designed to accelerate the growth of the bioscience industry in the region.

Memphis Bioworks Foundation
Memphis Bioworks is the Mid-South’s go-to organization for creating companies, jobs and investments in bioscience and sustainability.  A visionary community leader, Memphis Bioworks has a well-established record of sparking new levels of economic vitality by investing in entrepreneurs, building state-of-the-art labs and facilities, and training the next generation of workers.  For more information, visit, Facebook at or follow @MemphisBioworks on Twitter.