Will educate long-term unemployed for jobs in Clinical Laboratory Sciences

A stimulus grant of $5 million from the U.S. Department of Labor will fund a new four-year program, coordinated by the School of Health Professions at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, to educate long-term unemployed individuals as clinical laboratory science professionals.

UTMB’s Clinical Laboratory Initiative to Mentor Baccalaureate Students, or CLIMBS, project is meant to address the statewide shortage of clinical laboratory science professionals while offering long-time unemployed individuals a pathway into one of the most highly sought-after career fields.

Certified clinical laboratory science professionals provide laboratory services in hospitals, clinics, physicians’ offices, hospices, extended-care facilities, health maintenance organizations, community programs, home health care agencies and a wide array of industries.

The UTMB program offers a range of certificate and degree options — from a bachelor’s degree in clinical lab science, to a career ladder for medical laboratory technicians, to post-bachelor’s degree certifications in a number of specialties. The grant targets two populations: long-term unemployed individuals seeking to obtain a bachelor’s degree and individuals with bachelor’s degrees seeking  certification. 

To qualify for the program, individuals must have been unemployed for at least 27 weeks or be considered underemployed. Once they are accepted into the program, Labor Department funds will pay for their educational expenses — tuition, fees, books and some support services such as mentoring and advising.

UTMB’s courses in the clinical lab science degree program include clinical chemistry, hematology, immunohematology, microbiology, immunology, molecular biology, statistics, management, research, teaching and computer applications. Many of UTMB’s clinical lab science courses are available online.

Clinical laboratory science is one of the highest-growth occupation areas in the country with one of the highest shortages of certified professionals according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The department projects that approximately 10,700 new clinical laboratory professionals are needed every year through 2018. Currently, less than half that many individuals are completing baccalaureate or certification programs and entering the job market each year. Entry-level salaries for clinical laboratory science professionals start in the mid $40,000s.

Applications for the UTMB CLIMBS program must be completed by December 16 for the spring semester, which begins in January. For more information about the program and requirements, email cls.climbs@utmb.edu. Applicants will receive an immediate automatic response with a link to the application and full instructions for applying.