Brandon Grayson

Bringing Hope for a Brighter Future

When Brandon Grayson graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s full-stack development course in 2021, he wasn’t sure how he would use his new skills.

The Philadelphia native, now a front-end informatics engineer on BeiGene’s Applied Innovations team, knew he wanted to continue to live and work in the region, though he recognized that applying his experience in a meaningful way might be a stretch. An introduction to Hopeworks, a nonprofit based in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, helped him find an answer.

Recognizing the hardship that growing up in economically disadvantaged areas can have on career readiness, Hopeworks helps prepare young people personally and professionally for the workforce.

Investing in people

Brandon started teaching a JavaScript class at Hopeworks in the spring of 2021, inspired by the organization’s mission. “I love their approach of investing in people, teaching them new skill sets, and helping them get entry-level experience,” he says.

Hopeworks provides technical skills and career readiness training to participants, and partners with local and national companies to develop projects for students; for example, generating data from geographic information systems (GIS) to assess revitalization zones in and around Camden, New Jersey. The organization then helps graduates find internships or full-time work with livable wages.

Brandon joined BeiGene in the fall of 2021, where his work focuses on developing capabilities for next-generation clinical trial technology.

He has continued volunteering with Hopeworks, mentoring recent graduates and teaching classes in programming and professional development.

Surmounting environmental and personal challenges

“Hopeworks takes people in and tries to help with emotional skills, as well as technical, and helps build them up. It gives many people their first entry-level jobs,” says Brandon.

His personal commitment to the organization and its mission sparked BeiGene’s interest, and today the Applied Innovations team has two project-based interns from the New Jersey-based program, and is currently working with Hopeworks leadership on a longer-term partnership.

Brandon plans to continue his efforts with Hopeworks by working with young adults in the program to help them surmount their environmental and personal challenges, and work toward a brighter future.