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Biotech Future Hinges On Grade School Education

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Aired 2/2/11

An annual report by the California Healthcare Institute reveals there are more Californians employed in the biomedical industry than there are in the movies.

— More than 100,000 people in California are directly or indirectly employed by biomedical companies, which account for 13.8 percent of California’s entire workforce.

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California Biomedical Industry Report

California Biomedical Industry Report

The California Biomedical Industry Report features in-depth research ...

But biomedical leaders are worried about a shrinking workforce due to education problems that start as early as kindergarten.

The La Jolla based California Healthcare Institute (CHI) is a statewide public policy group representing 2,224 biomedical companies in California.

CHI says the future of California’s multi-billion-dollar industry greatly depends on a highly trained worked force.

David Gollaher, Ph.D. is the president and CEO of CHI. He said poor education in grades K through 12 means too many kids aren’t able to get into science programs in college.

“Right now only 30 percent of 20 year olds in California are in any kind of higher education, community college or university. We need to change that in order to fuel the future workforce,” said Gollaher.

Some biomedical companies hire scientists from abroad, because they say the pool of U.S.-trained scientists continues to shrink.

Regardless of where the researchers come from, CHI reports the National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded $3.2 billion in grants to California’s universities and research institutes in 2009.

That means, California researchers received more NIH grant money that year than any other state.

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Avatar for user 'xwagner'

xwagner | February 2, 2011 at 7:09 a.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

Maybe in China -- when I worked @ a couple of biotechs, the number of Chinese and Russian PhDs and lab rats was remarkable. Biotechs hire overseas workers and pay them dirt-cheap wages. Why would any US student go into science when they can't find employment since companies hire foreign workers? Unless you're talking about the two or three top scientists in a company.

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