(KCPW News) A new biotechnology program, called BioInnovations Gateway, is a public-private partnership helping students learn marketable skills while offering much-needed lab space to start-up biotech businesses. Tamara Goetz, the governor’s Science Advisor, says this kind of program is making Utah a national leader in developing a high-tech workforce.
“By supporting high-technology-based industries, it increases the chances to grow jobs that are high-tech and they have higher wages, to give students a more earnable wage, a better lifestyle, more opportunities to go between industries with those high-tech skills,” Goetz says.
There are currently about 90 high school students in the program, learning how to manufacture biomedical devices, pharmaceuticals and supplements alongside the resident companies at the facility. The two-year course is taught in a 25,000 square foot, newly remodeled lab at the Granite Technical Institute, and is also open to students at Salt Lake Community College.
Spencer Eccles, the governor’s new economic development director, says this kind of program is crucial to growing the state’s economy.
“Universities and education programs create push, they push the students out. Businesses create the pull,” Eccles says. “And if we can create relevance by creating a workforce that’s well educated, then we’re going to create more pull and they both continue to raise the bar for one another. And that’s what economic growth is all about.”
The facility will support up to seven companies. The project has been two and a half years in the making.