Does Buffalo have enough biotech workers to fill need?

2016-03-07 14:23:53

Companies in the fast-growing life sciences economy are happy with local talent, but say they often recruit for top jobs

Author: Steven T. Watson | The Buffalo News

Date: March 5, 2016

The Buffalo Niagara region is placing a big bet on the life sciences, and businesses need thousands of skilled workers to fill the jobs.

It’s one thing for Boston, or Northern California, to meet that demand.

But this is Buffalo.

Can the biotech companies expanding or moving here find enough qualified workers from the region’s colleges and universities to fill their openings?

And can the workers earning those degrees, or expatriates who want to return home, find good-paying jobs here?

The companies and the graduates say they can, for the most part, and people in life sciences no longer have to leave town to find success.

“I’m just really impressed with the talent here that’s at UB, and I think I would always be able to find people to hire, ” said Kate Rittenhouse-Olson, a University at Buffalo professor and the founder of a startup company, For-Robin Inc., that is developing a cancer treatment.

Experienced industry veterans can be harder to find locally, said Anthony Johnson, president and CEO of Empire Genomics, but he said those workers can be persuaded to move here when they see the energy and growth in the downtown medical corridor.

“I think once you get people here, you find the right candidate that really likes the opportunity, the area actually does wind up selling itself, basically,” said Johnson, whose molecular diagnostics company develops personalized medicine for cancer and other conditions.


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