Nov 27, 2012
BioCrossroads report details need for industry-guided post-baccalaureate education for workers entering life sciences industry

Regulatory hurdles, pressure from government payers and global competition are putting new demands on the life sciences industry and its workforce.   For people entering the industry, having current, relevant and industry-specific knowledge has never been more critical to gaining a competitive edge. Because the life sciences sector is one of Indiana’s strongest economic assets (one-third of the state’s $29 billion in annual exports of manufactured goods) and pays above-average wages, BioCrossroads recently embarked on a study to analyze the practical need for talent development to retain and attract innovative and entrepreneurial companies large and small to the state.
 
The results of the study were published today in BioCrossroads’ Using Post-Baccalaureate Education as a Competitive Advantage for Indiana’s Life Sciences Industry, which offers insight into effective strategies for advancing knowledge and providing Hoosier talent with a competitive edge in gaining access to professional opportunities in Indiana’s globally positioned life sciences industry.
 
As background for the report, BioCrossroads met with Indiana-based life sciences companies, representing a cross-section of employers from four industry sub-sectors (pharmaceuticals, medical devices and diagnostics, research laboratories, and plant sciences/animal health), and involving multinational, small and medium-sized enterprises. 
 
Company representatives defined and illustrated, with concrete examples, the types of professional coursework that would help current and future employees expand their knowledge of industry-specific priorities and requirements.
 
In the report, life sciences employers expressed a high level of interest in working with academic institutions to develop and teach post-baccalaureate coursework that would increase knowledge of industry-specific topics such as process improvement, project management, quality assurance, quality systems, good laboratory practices and good manufacturing practices. More importantly, the companies believe they could add value in the development and delivery of coursework through subject matter expertise and as a source of potential instructors.
 
“Because of the collaborative spirit of Indiana’s life sciences community, the employers we interviewed expressed great interest in not just having their workforce trained, but taking an active role in helping develop programs that could better prepare professionals today and in the future,” said David Johnson, president and CEO of BioCrossroads. “This is an important step we need to take in order to remain a leader in the global life sciences marketplace.”
 
One example is the OrthoWorx Center for Excellence in Orthopaedics at Grace College. The orthopedic manufacturers in Warsaw, Ind. and OrthoWorx collaborated with Grace College to develop a master’s degree program in orthopaedic regulatory and clinical affairs to fill a critical need for that skill set within the local companies. 
 
The report is now available on the BioCrossroads website at www.biocrossroads.com.
 
BioCrossroads (www.biocrossroads.com) is Indiana’s initiative to grow, advance and invest in the life sciences, a public-private collaboration that supports the region’s research and corporate strengths while encouraging new business development.   BioCrossroads provides money and support to life sciences businesses, launches new life sciences enterprises (Indiana Health Information Exchange, Fairbanks Institute for Healthy Communities, BioCrossroadsLINX,  Datalys Center and OrthoWorx) expands collaboration and partnerships among Indiana's life science institutions, promotes science education and markets Indiana's life sciences industry.