Roche Academy Aims to Fill Need For Talent

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Russ Fellows is the project manager for Roche Academy. Russ Fellows is the project manager for Roche Academy.

The University of Indianapolis and Roche Diagnostics are partnering on an effort to fill a talent gap. The first cohort for Roche Academy has begun and the university says the goal is to solve the talent pipeline for biomedical equipment technicians. The academy provides a customized curriculum for the cohort of eight students, as well as a summer internship, that provides real-world training to prepare students for high-demand positions at Roche.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business Reporter Mary-Rachel Redman, Roche Academy Project Manager Russ Fellows said the academy starts with a classroom curriculum.

"They're learning some of the analytical chemistry and the different methodologies here at the university side and then, once we bring them to the Roche campus, they'll actually be participating in a lot more of the business aspects and how we take those chemistry and biology courses and put them into action within the workforce at Roche," said Fellows. "We're directing what the curriculum is from an elective perspective. We're not changing the degree that they graduate with from the university, but then we're partnering that with professional development opportunities and also with experiences that we'll be delivering during the internship."

Fellows says ultimately, the academy will allow the students to have a lot of different opportunities for different career paths within Roche once they graduate and move into the Roche workforce. He says the early response to the program has been positive.

"We've actually participated in several events with the university as well, so we have helped in some of the (efforts) to reach out to high school students that potentially could come to the University of Indianapolis as well," said Fellows. "(We're) trying to really build that pipeline so that as we increase the number of students that we have in the cohorts, then we have more funneling into the university at the beginning as well."

The first cohort of students will complete their paid internship at Roche this summer before gaining full employment at the company in 2020. The university says the Roche Academy is expected to produce up to 20 biomedical equipment technicians for Roche each year.

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