The National Bio and Agro Facility in Manhattan is bringing more people to the city.

Dr. Chad Austin, Biorisk Management Training Program Coordinator, says he moved to Manhattan right before the pandemic for work at NBAF. He says he has been working in science for several years and just could not resist an opportunity to work at the facility.

“It’s really the first facility of it’s kind in the world and a really wonderful opportunity for me to make use of all of these resources that have been given to me- the education, the training, and my experiences,” Austin says.

Dr. Austin says he is excited to be part of the NBAF community. He tells KMAN more about his role as the Biorisk Management Training Program Coordinator.

“It’s my job to make sure that anyone working with an infectious substance or in the general vicinity of one at NBAF, has got the knowledge and skills to do their work safely.”

Dr. Chad Austin, NBAF Biorisk Management Training Program Coordinator

He adds that due to the ongoing pandemic and the facility not being fully operational yet, training a team has been difficult, but says they are still working on many things.

“The relationships that you have with your coworkers and the communication that you have with them,” Dr. Chad Austin says. “Being able to have a conversation, be on the same page, those are fundamental activities, and those are things that we are doing now, and those relationships are relationships that we are building now and they are going to stand us in good step when we get into the facility.

Dr. Austin adds that the training for the facility will take time. Beginning with classroom work, then hands-on experience, transitioning into a mentorship style training with an experienced worker, and finally demonstrating your skills to be released to work without a mentor.

“NBAF is absolutely committed to safety,” Austin assures. “We are not going to be putting anybody inexperienced or unready in a high-risk work environment. What I am probably going to do is have a progressive training program for on-boarding and for bringing in new employees, and even folks from other high-containment sites.”

Dr. Austin says training will always be a work in progress though, because research is always changing.

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