Statewide Bioscience Skills Gap Report Released

Eighteen-Month Tech Collective report shows need and offers recommendations for Bioscience workforce development.

Providence, RI, November 11, 2009 --( Tech Collective, Rhode Island’s Biotechnology Industry Association, today announces the release of its Report of the Rhode Island Bioscience Industry Skills Gap Taskforce. Overall, the report hails the states existing industry foundation, but urges a stronger investment in them. Specifically, the report:

· Highlights the state of the industry in Rhode Island
· Investigates and identifies causes of skills gaps between employer need and available talent, particularly at the entry level
· Outlines career opportunities at the entry, incumbent and transitioning worker level
· Outlines available education and training resources ranging from preK-continuing
· Provides recommendations and strategies for improvement

In partnership with the University of Rhode Island Providence Biotechnology Center and conducted over the course of eighteen months, the report is a culmination of local interviews, surveys, public forums and RI Labor Market Information (LMI) as well as national research and United States Department of Labor data. Recommendations of the report encourage further collaboration among industry, academic and government bioscience stakeholders, increased public and industry awareness of bioscience opportunities and continued expansion and investment in workforce education programs.

“The Report of the Rhode Island Bioscience Industry Skills Gap Task Force is an integral step in defining the State’s Bioscience industry and workforce needs and moving it forward,” said Kathie Shields, executive director for the Tech Collective. “Not only is the Report a guide and resource to this burgeoning industry, it is also opportunistic in its finding that Rhode Island is well-suited for the biosciences; we just need to foster its needs as it takes a predominate place in our 21st century knowledge economy.”

“The URI Providence Biotechnology Center was pleased to be asked to participate in the Biotechnology Skills Gap Report,” said Gregory Paquette, PhD, CLS, clinical professor and director of biotechnology and medical laboratory science programs, Department of Cell and Molecular Biology for URI. “URI has supported the development of the life sciences industry in the state and region through a number of initiatives, and we believe the recommendations of this report, if implemented, will dramatically improve the economic environment in Rhode Island by growing the rapidly emerging life sciences industry.”

“Biomedical Structures is proud to be a part of the Rhode Island Bioscience Industry Skills Gap Task Force,” said John Gray, president of Biomedical Structures. “Knowing that the skill set of the workforce is the heart and soul of our local economy, the Report is the foundation from which to amplify our broad based, yet under heralded Bioscience / Biotechnology industry. It is an opportunity to truly grow and benefit the bioscience companies in this state. And it highlights the established commitment of many RI BioTech firms, including Biomedical Structures, investing in a cooperative approach of industry, government and academia to give us a common voice and ensure that Biosciences in Rhode Island reach their full potential.”

The report was funded by the Governor’s Workforce Board of Rhode Island (GWBRI) Industry Partnership program, which supports efforts to develop the State’s high-growth, high-wage industry sectors, including the biosciences. Tech Collective plans to work with the GWBRI and other resources to carry out recommendations offered in the Bioscience Skills Gap Report. The report can be downloaded at

Tech Collective released a similar report for the IT industry in late 2007.

About the University of Rhode Island Providence Biotechnology Center:
The URI Providence Biotechnology Center is a collaboration between the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology (College of the Environment and Life Sciences) and the Graduate Professional Center (Feinstein College of Continuing Education). Programs have been developed that include a BS Biotechnology Manufacturing Program, MS Biotechnology Program, Biotechnology Industry Training Program, the RI PK-12 Biotechnology Initiative, and the Institute for Immunology and Informatics (I3). The Center has received over $16M in state, federal, and industry support and now has eight faculty members, six support staff and over 12,000 sq. ft. of space, including 5 cutting-edge research and teaching labs, and a sustainable operating budget of over $1M/year. Learn more at

About Tech Collective:
Tech Collective is Rhode Island’s Information Technology and Bioscience Industry Association. Uniting industry, government and academic stakeholders, our mission is to inspire, engage, educate and employ a high-skill, high-wage Knowledge Economy in Rhode Island. Since its transition from the Rhode Island Technology Council (RITEC) in 2004, Tech Collective has received more than $6M in federal, state and private grant funding to foster industry collaboration, awareness and development through events and initiatives including: GRRL Tech, Women in Technology, Bio-Ed, Tech Laureates’ Night and STEM-based education and training programs for K-16 students as well as incumbent and transitioning workers. For more information about Tech Collective, please visit

Kathie Shields
Executive Director
Tech Collective
401.521.7805 x105

Tech Collective
Giselle LaFrance, Manager of Media Relations
(401) 829-8321