Janssen Pharmaceutical launched the Bridge to Employment (BTE) Program for 57 sophomores in Manatí and Gurabo, as part of its Early Talent Strategy to engage millennials with the life sciences manufacturing sector.
Janssen, which in Puerto Rico has two manufacturing sites, one in Gurabo and another in Manatí, submitted a proposal to BTE, a worldwide Johnson & Johnson program created in 1992 to help young people build solid futures by introducing them to a broad array of careers in science, technology and healthcare.
Johnson & Johnson partners with the FHI 360 to manage the program worldwide. ASPIRA is the nonprofit organization supporting the program for Janssen Puerto Rico.
“This is part of our credo to serve our communities, by helping young people realize they have access to a broader scope of careers as we introduce them to these fields and help them develop their leadership skills,” said Mario González, general manager of Janssen in Manatí.
The program provides mentoring and special attention to the selected students in science, technology, engineering and math education (STEM, for short) and follows their progress for three years until they graduate. Twenty-eight students were selected for the program from the Petra Corretejer School in Manatí and 29 from the Conchita Cuevas School in Gurabo. The program also focuses on developing self-esteem, leadership and collaboration among the selected students.
“We are strengthening Puerto Rico’s capacity in STEM, which will not only enhance the resources available to continue bolstering the Life Sciences industry in Puerto Rico but provide the island with new talent for economic growth,” said John O’Hara, general manager of the Janssen site in Gurabo.
Pact with Education
Janssen reached an agreement with the Department of Education to launch the BTE program for the selected public school students, company officials said.
“Both the government as well as the private sector recognize that education is fundamental in order to have sustainable economic development for Puerto Rico. For that purpose, the relationship between the Department of Education and industry needs to strengthened so that during this period of economic recovery we may stimulate the insertion of our students in the global labor market in a more agile and efficient manner,” said Education Secretary, Rafael Román.
“That is why this accord with Janssen Pharmaceutical is of such importance since it allows us to promote development strategies and implementation tactics that may address the gaps that our youth may have in gaining access to the university system and to the labor market,” he said.
The program includes the collaboration of the Department of Education, the University of Puerto Rico in Río Piedras, ASPIRA and Janssen employees who will serve as volunteer mentors.
The program was launched with a ceremony in Guaynabo and a workshop for the students.