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Training program for life science careers draws $1 million donation

Developer Samuels & Associates is helping to fund a new biotech training program at Benjamin Franklin Cummings Institute of Technology

Benjamin Franklin Cummings Institute of Technology president and CEO Aisha Francis.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

Samuels & Associates, a commercial real estate firm, has donated $1 million to Benjamin Franklin Cummings Institute of Technology to establish a scholarship fund to expand access to life sciences careers.

The scholarship fund will cover both tuition and cost of living expenses for selected students in the South End-based school’s biotech program. Samuels & Associates has also pledged to connect Franklin Cummings Tech students to mentorship and internship opportunities with companies that lease space in their buildings, which include a growing life science cluster in the Fenway.

“Our development projects are helping build the biotechnology industry infrastructure in Boston, and through this partnership with Franklin Cummings Tech, we will contribute to creating career opportunities in biotechnology for Franklin Cummings Tech graduates and grow the skilled and diverse workforce the industry needs today,” said Steve Samuels, chairman and principal of Samuels & Associates. “Samuels & Associates is committed to advancing equity and seeing our economy thrive in everything we do, and we believe this scholarship created in partnership with Franklin Cummings Tech will achieve both of these goals.”

Franklin Cummings Tech recently launched a biotech program, which offers a two-year degree featuring classes covering topics like molecular biology, general chemistry, organic and biochemistry, chemistry manufacturing and control, and good lab practices to prepare students to perform routine scientific research tasks in the field. The school has ramped up outreach and recruiting at Boston Public Schools and other local districts to draw more students from a wide range of backgrounds into the region’s burgeoning life science industry.


Franklin Cummings Tech enrolls 74 percent students of color and 45 percent first-generation college students. The majority of its students come from Greater Boston and Massachusetts’ so-called Gateway Cities.

“Students from the communities we serve have not historically seen themselves in biotech careers, nor have they had the resources or relationships necessary to pursue the training that assures they can be well positioned for these careers,” said Aisha Francis, president and CEO of Franklin Cummings Tech. “Samuels recognized a gap in terms of encouraging more greater Boston residents to pursue this field and providing them with additional financial support and direct connections to future employers. This meaningful funding commitment will help Franklin Cummings Tech more quickly advance its goal of creating a strong pipeline of talent via our biotechnology associate degree program.”


Julian E.J. Sorapuru is a Development Fellow at the Globe and can be reached at Follow him @JulianSorapuru