Pharmaceutical Product Development (PPD) launched a clinical research associates (CRAs) apprenticeship program targeted to military veterans and military service members with medical backgrounds who are transitioning to the civilian workforce. PPD’s initiative, the first CRA apprenticeship program registered with the U.S. Department of Labor, will begin in North Carolina, Texas and California in the first quarter of this year.
“As a veteran who transitioned to the civilian workforce, I understand the need to provide viable career opportunities to those who have served,” said William Sharbaugh, chief operating officer of PPD. “Our industry-first CRA apprenticeship program recognizes the skills of veterans and transitioning service members with medical backgrounds who, through their service, have developed the requisite skills of leadership and who are motivated to join us in helping deliver life-changing medicines.”
PPD’s 12-month program, which provides training through PPD’s award-winning CRA academy and on-the-job learning, is designed to give participants the foundation to be qualified and successful CRAs. The competency-based program provides exposure to three clinical roles, allowing apprentices to build on what they’ve learned and gradually integrate into the contract research industry.
“PPD recognizes the need for highly skilled professionals to ensure the quality of clinical trials,” said Ed Murray, executive vice president and chief human resources officer of PPD. “With this program, PPD addresses one of the immediate needs of military veterans and personnel transitioning to civilian careers, while addressing a clear need to expand the talent pool of CRAs for the conduct of clinical research.”
NCWorks, the North Carolina approving agency for the U.S. Department of Labor, and the Office of Apprenticeship in California and in Texas approved PPD’s application to make the role of clinical research associate (clinical documentation improvement specialist) a recognized occupation for registered apprenticeship programs.
PPD is responsible for the coordination, administrative processes and all programming aspects, including recruitment and marketing, of the apprenticeship. In establishing the program, PPD draws on decades of experience in recruiting and developing CRAs. In 2016, PPD won the Outstanding Training Initiative Award for its Virtual Clinical Foundations Program 2.0, which prepares CRAs for success in monitoring clinical trials.