Study: supply not meeting demand for AZ bio workers

November 5, 2003

By hammersmith

A new study by the Battelle Memorial Institute reveals that Arizona’s ‘soaring’ demand for workers in the bioscience industry is not being met by statewide education and training programs. It suggests a series of immediate and long-term strategies for Arizona to align its workforce pipeline with its rapidly changing bioscience employment base.

The study, commissioned by the Maricopa Community Colleges, found that 1,200 positions are expected to be added to Arizona’s biosciences employment sector over the next two years, a 20 percent increase.

The report calls for employers and educators to improve communications regarding training of Arizona residents to fill current and future positions. It also recommends the formation of a statewide Bioscience Industry-Education Council to coordinate development of bioscience training programs.

Key strengths were also noted in the study, such as a healthy projected growth in manufacturing and production; a solid base and strong demand for medical laboratory technicians; and existing competencies in electronics, optics and information technology.

The information will be used by administrators and faculty who are responsible for designing curriculum that will train this specialized workforce. Statewide community colleges will develop bioscience programs, including the Maricopa Community Colleges, which have set aside $1.5 million in Proposition 301 funds for this purpose.

Among the components of the study was a survey of 73 Arizona biosciences organizations, representing 65 percent of the state’ biosciences employment base. The study was funded by the Maricopa Community Colleges in collaboration with the Arizona Department of Commerce, Pima Community College, Yavapai College, and Flinn Foundation. It study was aligned with Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap, a long-term strategy to advance Arizona’s biosciences sector, also directed by Battelle.

For more information:

Report: “Arizona Bioscience Workforce Strategy: Preparing for the Future

State short on biotech workers; demand strong for technicians now,” Arizona Republic, 11/05/2003

Maricopa Community Colleges wants council to coordinate bioscience training programs,” East Valley Tribune, 11/05/2003

Bio workers, Arizona needs you,” Arizona Daily Star, 11/05/2003