Via this week's Chemical and Engineering News, an article from Matt Blois on biotech workforce development:
...Rimando-McKeel’s experience is a window into a broader problem for the business of using biology to make chemicals and other materials. Companies have been racking up victories on R&D and business fronts and moving technologies from research labs to commercial-scale production facilities. But industry leaders say they can’t hire enough technicians to operate the cell-growing machinery on the floors of those plants.
“We end up stealing people from other companies, or you train them in-house,” says Jay Keasling, a University of California, Berkeley, chemical engineer and the founder of several synthetic biology companies. “We need a lot more training in this area.”
...Companies are trying to strengthen their hiring pipelines to replace employees who leave, but those efforts take a long time to pay off. DeKloe warns that the industry risks starting too late to head off a labor crunch. “How do you ramp up a program for any emerging industry?” he says. “You have to start before the crisis is upon us.”
Undoubtedly, there are people advocating for training programs now, and finally getting traction with their leadership. I wonder how many will last until the next hiring panic?