Skills training will accelerate life sciences innovation...
Skills training will accelerate life sciences innovation in Maryland
Commentary by Kelly Schulz, CEO, Maryland Tech Council
Maryland made waves last year by no longer requiring college degrees for thousands of state government jobs. Since then, states like Pennsylvania, Utah and New York have followed Maryland’s lead.
This is great for Maryland workers, but it’s a reminder for private sector employers that hiring for skill can be more valuable than an advanced degree when filling specific jobs.
For a test case in how to upskill Marylanders for rewarding careers, consider Maryland’s life sciences industry.
Our life sciences industry is strong, generating $20 billion in economic activity in the state and employing 54,000 people. We host 2,700 biotechnology and life sciences companies and federal labs researching and delivering life-changing treatments, vaccines, cures, and therapies to the world.
Despite these strengths, we face a significant challenge. Local life sciences employers are consistently unable to find enough qualified workers to fill critical roles. We estimate that nearly 3,000 biotechnology jobs in Maryland are currently vacant and that number is growing.
A new program, known as BioHub Maryland, is designed to grow and diversify the state’s talent pipeline to fill key jobs, create opportunities for all residents, and expand the state’s global innovation advantage.
Created by the Maryland Tech Council, BioHub Maryland helps residents of all backgrounds pursue life sciences careers by offering skills training, career resources, and access to thousands of life sciences job openings.
BioHub Maryland will feature a state-of-the-art, in-person laboratory where trainees can gather for hands-on, “learn by doing” training to gain a competitive edge in essential biopharma manufacturing concepts.
Don’t let the white lab coats fool you. Many promising biotech jobs require only a high school diploma, a GED, or a 2-year Associate’s degree, and they pay more than comparable jobs in other fields.
A Marylander with only a high school diploma can earn $72,300 per year as a clinical data assistant with a Maryland life science company. That’s more than double the wage paid by comparable jobs in other fields. A validation technician with a 2-year Associate’s degree can earn $93,000 – also more than double the average for comparable jobs in other fields.
More than 1.3 million Marylanders are skilled through alternative routes – meaning they’ve earned career skills through apprenticeships, on-the-job training, or military service.
All they need are training programs like BioHub Maryland to help them find their future and unlock highly competitive compensation.
Veterans will also benefit. We are partnering with Platoon 22 to reskill military veterans for the life sciences industry. Life sciences companies are mission-driven: they fight diseases and save lives. They need men and women who understand logistics, teamwork, time management, and other skills learned in the military.
Investing in Maryland’s life sciences workforce is no zero-sum game. Virginia just announced an unprecedented $66 million investment in life sciences workforce development, and North Carolina has directed $75 million to life sciences in recent years. Competition is fierce for life sciences jobs, and Maryland cannot afford to lose.
The question is not whether life sciences companies will create good-paying, family-sustaining jobs in the coming years; the question is whether we will have a strong enough talent pipeline to keep those jobs in Maryland.
BioHub Maryland will demonstrate that training and hiring for skill, not simply advanced degrees, will accelerate Maryland’s global life sciences leadership.
BioHub Maryland, Platoon 22 Partner to Reskill...
BioHub Maryland, Platoon 22 Partner to Reskill Military Veterans for Life Sciences Careers
FREDERICK, MD – January 17, 2023 – BioHub Maryland, an initiative to accelerate the state’s life sciences industry, is partnering with Platoon 22, a non-profit dedicated to ending veteran suicide through successful reintegration, to reskill and upskill military veterans for rewarding careers in the life sciences industry. BioHub Maryland is an initiative of the Maryland Tech Council, the largest technology and life sciences trade association in the state.
Finding and training talent to meet the workforce needs of Maryland’s growing life sciences industry is critical. The state is home to one of the nation’s strongest life sciences ecosystems, with more than 2,700 companies and 54,000 workers contributing $20 billion to the state’s economy and delivering life-changing medical treatments to the world.
BioHub Maryland and Platoon 22 will partner to offer military veterans access to training in the skills life sciences employers value most. This includes BioHub Maryland’s online skills academy that teaches the fundamentals of the industry, such as biomanufacturing concepts, cell and gene therapy and vaccine manufacturing fundamentals, quality control skills, technical writing, and data analysis. Beginning in 2024, BioHub Maryland will also offer state-of-the-art lab space where trainees can gain competency-based, “learn by doing” biomanufacturing training.
“Maryland’s life sciences companies value mission-driven problem solvers who understand logistics, teamwork, and other skills learned in the military,” said Michelle Ferrone, Chief Operating Officer of Maryland Tech Council. “Our partnership with Platoon 22 will enable more veterans to upskill or reskill into the life sciences industry, where they’ll find a new mission fighting medical conditions such as cancer, Muscular Dystrophy, diabetes, and rare diseases.”
By taking advantage of BioHub Maryland’s resources, veterans gain a competitive edge, relevant skills, and ability to add immediate value in a life sciences workplace.
“Just under 400,000 Veterans live in the state of Maryland and 70 percent of those Veterans live within just 60 minutes of the Veterans Service Commission,” said Niki Falzone, Director of Operations and Veterans Services for Platoon 22. “The population is there to serve, and Platoon 22 is dedicated to aiding in successful transition and reintegration. Employment and a sense of belonging are major barriers identified in the transitional phase. The partnership with BioHub allows for Veterans to find gainful employment and continue a life of service in an industry that requires the unique skillset they possess.”
Military veterans can learn more at biohubmaryland.com or contact the team at email@example.com.
Anyone can pursue a rewarding career in life sciences, regardless of their background or education level. Some of the most in-demand life sciences careers, such as manufacturing technicians and lab technicians, do not require advanced degrees or bachelor’s degrees. Life sciences incomes in Maryland are also significantly higher than the statewide average for all industries, according to a 2021 Milken Institute report.
About BioHub Maryland
BioHub Maryland is accelerating the life sciences industry for companies and career seekers to expand the state’s global innovation advantage. An initiative of the Maryland Tech Council, the largest technology and life sciences trade association in the state, BioHub Maryland helps residents of all backgrounds pursue rewarding careers in life sciences by offering skills training, career resources, and access to 1,200+ job openings in life sciences. BioHub Maryland also helps life sciences companies at every stage grow by showcasing their career opportunities, training the next generation of life sciences talent, and providing strategic resources for raising capital. Learn more at biohubmaryland.com and follow on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
About Platoon 22
Platoon 22 is dedicated to ending veteran suicide through the successful reintegration of service members and their families by assembling critical resources, providing peer support, and developing transitional programs. Learn more at platoon22.org or follow on LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram.