Celebrating 24 Years of Service to the Local Community!

Baxter Students Graduate at L.A. Ceremony

Los Angeles - - In a lavish ceremony held at the Van de Kamp Center in Los Angeles, certificates of completion were handed out to graduates of the Baxter Biotech Academy Incumbent Worker Training Program.

More than 100 workers took part in the training held at both Van de Kamp and the Los Angeles Valley College campus, which included courses such as biology, health, speech, and psychology. Depending on the classes taken, employees earned between three and six units of transferrable college credit.

For many employees, the prospect of returning to school was daunting, but graduate Mike Piazza, who spoke at the ceremony referenced his two college age children when he  said, “If I couldn’t do my homework, what right do I have to tell them to do theirs? I can’t have them getting A’s and not me; I don’t want them to outshine me.”

Broken into four cohorts, the groups also spent time volunteering in the community with numerous Baxter volunteers unload trucks at the Dream Center. The food was destined for deserving families.nonprofit organizations that included the Downtown Women’s Center, Hope of the Valley, Operation Gratitude, and the Dream Centers’ Mobile Food Truck Program.

Bernice Berfort, volunteer coordinator for the Dream Center, was very appreciative of Baxter Healthcare, saying in part, “Because of your decision to come serve with us, we were able to further our reach . . . and help the communities by delivering grocery bags of food. It may have seemed like a small blessing, but with every bag of food handed out, that mother, grandmother, father, and child didn’t have to worry about food for the week.”

Guests at the graduation included Valley College's Acting President Karen Daar, who congratulated the students on their success and encouraged them to continue their educational pursuits.

Keri Luna, Job Training’s special project coordinator for the program, explained the three-fold purpose of the classes. “This eight-week training event served to upgrade the skills of Baxter employees while their facilities were being renovated. Not only did it prevent layoffs and allow employees to continue working during the renovation, but hopefully also inspired many of them to continue pursuing their education, something Baxter management stands completely behind.”

The completion of this program fulfills the grant deliverables for the California Community College Chancellor’s Office Responsive Training Fund.

The Graduating Class
The Graduating Class
(Click on picture for larger image)

Additional photos from today's event (not available for cell phones):