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Exact Sciences rescinds job offers from 14 graduates of Urban League training program amid COVID-19 pandemic
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Exact Sciences rescinds job offers from 14 graduates of Urban League training program amid COVID-19 pandemic

From the The COVID-19 pandemic hits home: Keep up with the latest local news on the coronavirus outbreak series
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Exact Sciences lab under construction May 2019, State Journal photo

Work progresses on Exact Sciences' new laboratory building on the Southwest Side of Madison on May 3, 2019.

In another casualty of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Madison-based Exact Sciences is rescinding job offers to 14 people who recently completed its celebrated Exact Sciences Academy.

The program, offered in partnership with the Urban League of Greater Madison, prepares trainees for entry-level positions at the cancer diagnostic test company.

Exact Sciences spokesman Scott Larrivee said the company is "unable to move ahead" with the job offers in light of the pandemic's impact on business. He said this move was not specific to the training program with the Urban League, and all departments are being asked to adjust hiring plans going forward.

The 14 graduates of the program were set to start work in April, Urban League President and CEO Ruben Anthony told the Wisconsin State Journal Saturday.

"These graduates have skills that are highly in demand, and the Urban League is working to quickly connect them with opportunities at local health care employers," Anthony said.

Larrivee said Exact Sciences will keep in touch with the individuals as hiring needs evolve.

"If we have openings and they're available and interested down the line, we'd love to have them," he said.

Both Exact Sciences and the Urban League said they are still committed to the partnership and the training program.

"The Urban League is one of our most valued and strongest community partners," Larrivee said. "We're going to keep working with them."

Larrivee said the training program, created in 2018 to help job seekers gain the skills needed to work in biotech and health care fields, has brought "incredibly talented individuals" to the company in the past.

In the training program, staff from Exact Sciences and the Urban League work from a curriculum that teaches a range of skills from Microsoft Office software and customer service calls to sample processing.

While graduates of the program are not guaranteed a job offer, Anthony said it has been a "tremendous success" so far, with most receiving offers from Exact Sciences and others finding jobs elsewhere soon after training.

"We were disappointed to learn that the COVID-19 pandemic will at least temporarily result in the suspension of new, mass hiring at Exact Sciences," Anthony said. "The pandemic has – in ways both predictable and unpredictable – disrupted families and businesses. Sadly, our community is no different."

State Journal reporter Howard Hardee contributed to this report.

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