SCHEDULING NOTE: Roundtable will air at 89.5 FM at 12:30 p.m. today, instead of noon.
Biotech Future Hinges On Grade School Education
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
An annual report by the California Healthcare Institute reveals there are more Californians employed in the biomedical industry than there are in the movies.
SAN DIEGO 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.
California Biomedical Industry Report
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.