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PPD Launches CRA Apprenticeships for Vets with Medical Backgrounds

By Allan Maurer, NCBiotech Writer

Wilmington-based contract research organization Pharmaceutical Product Development (PPD) has launched a clinical research associates apprenticeship program targeted at military veterans with medical backgrounds.

Aimed at helping vets and service members transitioning to the civilian workforce, the first CRA programs began in North Carolina, Texas, and California.

“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, CEO 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.”

The first 12-month CRA program provides training through PPD’s award-winning CRA Academy and on-the-job training. 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.

That’s something the company is already good at. In 2016 PPD won the outstanding training initiative award for its virtual clinical foundations program 2.0 which prepares CRA’s for success in monitoring clinical trials.


Having been a CRA one time in my career and having seen the abilities of our veterans transfer skills in our programs( This is a brilliant move by PPD!

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