News / Press Release

UNITE-LA Partners with Amgen Foundation on Advancing the Amgen Biotech Experience in the Los Angeles Region

Long-established science education program to give local secondary school students hands-on biotechnology lab experience

LOS ANGELES, CA —UNITE-LA, the education and workforce development affiliate of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Amgen Foundation is proud to announce the Amgen Biotech Experience (ABE) program in the L.A. region, as part of a $10.5 million investment in the longstanding science education program. Globally, ABE is expected to reach nearly 900,000 secondary school students by 2020 in 18 regions around the world. 

ABE empowers secondary school science teachers to implement real-world biotechnology labs in their classrooms, helping students better understand what science is and how it influences their daily lives. Designed by Amgen scientists and educators, the three-week in-class lab initiative provides teacher professional development, teaching materials, and research-grade equipment to classrooms to immerse students in the concepts and techniques scientists use to discover and develop medicines. 

During the 2016-2017 school year, ABE-LA reached 27,389 students and was implemented by 269 teachers, serving 162 schools in the Los Angeles region.

“This exciting, new partnership with the Amgen Foundation allows UNITE-LA to further advance its commitment to promoting quality Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education and increase the reach and impact of ABE in our region. We will work through the Chamber’s L.A. Regional STEM Hub to highlight this innovative STEM focused education-industry partnership that helps to prepare students for California's high-skilled workforce,” said David Rattray, President, UNITE-LA. “Even more wonderful is our ability to do this in a way that will give students real-world experience now using state-of-the-art biotechnology equipment and provide educators with state of the art tools to motivate students in the classroom.”

The Amgen Foundation's total past and current commitment to ABE now reaches more than $25 million, bringing the Foundation's total commitment to STEM education to more than $125 million globally.

ABE has proven its impact through an independent and rigorous evaluation. A study by WestEd indicates students who participate in ABE report increased interest and confidence in doing science and biotechnology. Bioscience innovation improves people’s lives and creates jobs that are a critical component of Los Angeles’ and California’s economies. 

“Our partnership with UNITE-LA starts an exciting new chapter for the long-standing ABE program throughout Southern California. UNITE-LA’s leadership and commitment will build upon the program’s proven impact in boosting students’ interest and confidence in doing science and biotechnology,” said Eduardo Cetlin, president, Amgen Foundation. “We are excited to work with UNITE-LA to bring hands-on science education to even more Southern California students, educators and communities.”

Rattray also noted, “We are particularly delighted that as part of our collaboration with the Amgen Foundation, UNITE-LA will enhance outreach to underserved students and increase diversity and inclusion in underresourced schools. This is critical since we know many students in underrepresented communities often have limited access to real scientific discovery. This component strategically supports UNITE-LA’s mission to ensure all area youth have equal access to high-quality education and that K-16 systems are better aligned with workforce needs.”


Established in 1998, UNITE-LA is a nonprofit organization that leads collaborative education reform efforts, promotes business-education partnerships, expands college access and provides workforce development opportunities for youth in the Los Angeles area to ensure underserved youth have the opportunity to participate in Los Angeles' 21st century economy. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @LetsUniteLA.

About the Amgen Foundation
The Amgen Foundation seeks to advance excellence in science education to inspire the next generation of innovators, and invest in strengthening communities where Amgen staff members live and work. To date, the Foundation has donated over $250 million to local, regional, and international nonprofit organizations that impact society in inspiring and innovative ways. The Amgen Foundation brings the excitement of discovery to the scientists of tomorrow through several signature programs, including Amgen Scholars, Amgen Biotech Experience, and Amgen Teach. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @AmgenFoundation.