First Michigan Bio-Talent Summit to Address Industry Workforce Needs

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ANN ARBOR — MichBio, the state’s life sciences industry association, announced Monday that it would join with the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan to host the “Michigan Bio-Talent Summit,” an event to bring bio executives together with educators, work force development professionals and other key stakeholders to discuss bioscience talent needs.

The Bio-Talent Summit will take place on Thursday, April 19, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the  VisTaTech Center at Schoolcraft College in Livonia.

It will focus on five initiatives:
* The talent that is needed to support the biosciences sector;
* The lack of sufficiently strong connections between and among the industry, educational institutions and workforce development organizations;
* The proper alignment of curricula with industry talent and workforce needs;
* The growing importance of downstream functions such as contract research and development services; and
* The increasing reliance on an immigrant workforce.

“Ensuring that top talent in the bioscience arena exists in Michigan is a key to our bio-industry and the state’s future success,” said Stephen Rapundalo, president and CEO of MichBio. “Highly educated and skilled bio-talent can produce a steady stream of biomedical and life science breakthroughs and transform cutting-edge research into commercial therapies, diagnostics, devices and bio-based products that improve and save lives. It is essential that Michigan companies, universities and colleges, economic development, and workforce and policy organizations unite to strengthen bioscience education and talent development across the state.”

The Bio-Talent Summit is the first step in bringing together Michigan’s bioscience employers with talent and workforce leaders to plan a course of action for the future. Michigan’s world-class workforce is a major reason why bioscience companies and research institutions grow or relocate to the State of Michigan. If the bio-industry’s future talent needs are to be met, leaders in business, government and academia must implement strategies to ensure that bioscience employers have the talent they need to succeed, and that our students and workers have the education and training necessary to excel in high-quality, competitive bioscience careers.

“Michigan is rapidly becoming a bioscience powerhouse, and we must make sure this growing industry can find the talent they’ll need to expand and thrive,” said Amy Cell, MEDC’s senior vice president of talent enhancement. She said the event “will begin to align bioscience employers with the talented students and workers they need to succeed in the future.”

The Summit will kick off with William Parfet, CEO of Michigan-based MPI Research, speaking about the challenge in sustaining the growth of the state’s bio-industry through the development of qualified talent. Keynote speakers Russ Read, executive director of the National Center for the Biotechnology Workforce, and Peter Pellerito, senior policy consultant for the Biotechnology Industry Organization, will spotlight best practices in workforce development on the national bio-industry landscape. Alan Edwards, vice president of science for the Americas product group at Kelly Services, will present insights on evolving trends in the bio-industry workforce both nationally and in Michigan.

Other major sponsors of the event include the Biotechnology Industry Organization, Kelly Scientific Services and Schoolcraft College.

More at www.michbio.org.

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