Our History

BTI was established in 1998 by Dr. Margaret B. Penno, Associate Professor of Medicine and Director of the Cell Culture Laboratory at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. With a grant from the Abell Foundation, which continues to be a primary funder, BTI has successfully developed a model to train and place motivated high school graduates with demonstrated academic qualifications and an interest in beginning a career in bioscience. Often unemployed or underemployed, these students are able to realize career opportunities that would not have been previously available to them. In addition to the technical curriculum required for placement in a lab, BTI’s training includes critical employability skills and assistance in addressing social issues, both of which affect retention in class and on the job.  Ongoing funding by The Abell Foundation and the Annie E. Casey Foundation has been complemented by a 4-year, One Million Dollar award by the Charles T. Bauer Foundation in 2008.

Employers realize several benefits from the BTI model, including a positive impact on their bottom-line.  Hiring BTI graduates results in measurable cost-savings resulting from the lower salaries and lower turnover costs of non-degreed but specially-skilled workers.  This model has been proven through an initial pilot program with Baltimore City’s Chesapeake Biological Labs, Inc., where Dr. Penno was a consultant, and again with Osiris Therapeutics, Inc.  In both projects, the employers participated in the development and delivery of a client-specific curriculum.  From these initial successful efforts, BTI has expanded its content delivery to include Lab Associate classes, customized training to address client-specific needs and workshops to provide current lab technicians (many are BTI graduates) with the continuing education important for career advancement.

In February 2010, CNN featured BTI as an outstanding example of both a skills-based training program critically needed to prepare adults for career-oriented jobs requiring more than a high school diploma and an effective provider of job-ready employees for the growing bio-pharma industry.

CNN Visit....

CNN visits BTI's classroom laboratories in Baltimore, Maryland in their report highlighting job training programs which provide new career opportunities and better earning potential for minorities.

The BTI Story....

The BTI Laboratory Associates Program provides tuition-free training in basic laboratory skills to bright, ambitious, unemployed and under-employed Maryland residents.

BTI Success....

BioTechnical Institute of Maryland graduate Ervin Griffin shares how BTI helped him rediscover his passion for science and learning, and the positive changes the program made in his life.