Biotechnology Industry Focus Group: Defining the educational and workforce needs of the biotech sector in Tampa bay



Florida Center of Excellence for Biomolecular Identification for Targeted
Therapeutics at Hillsborough Community College in Brandon partnered with Workforce Florida Banner Center for Biotechnology to host an industry focus group aimed at defining the educational as well as workforce needs of the biotech sector in Tampa Bay. This cohesive effort was part of a series of regional focus groups conducted by the Employ Florida Banner Center for Biotechnology at the University of Florida’s, Center of Excellence for Regenerative Health Biotechnology (CERHB), and was held Dec. 3 at the University of South Florida’s Downtown Center.

Kim Wilson, project manager of FCoE-BITT at HCC-Brandon said the discussions and feedback provided during the session were critical in underlining the essential components in building and strengthening current/future biotech workforce sector in greater Tampa Bay. It helped capture educational and technical credentials sought by current and potential employers, and served as an effective vehicle for “cross communication between industry, education and government agencies”. Lori Wokciechowski, assistant coordinator of education and training at CERHB also described it as a helpful tool in formulating strategies “to deliver industry-specific training programs, and help identify emerging trends and occupations”.

The session was moderated by Dr. Christopher Reuter, technical director of Osprey Biotechnics Inc.—a leading manufacturer of specialty biologicals located in Sarasota. Participants included industry representatives, members of regional workforce boards, representatives from local chambers of commerce as well as professors engaged in teaching biotechnology courses at regional colleges and universities.

Results from the focus group will be used to identify and fill existing gaps between educational programs and expected industry needs, streamline current courses and develop future courses that match the needs of the biotechnology industry in Tampa bay. It will also be combined with other focus group results to better define regional and statewide needs.

For more information visit www.fl-ate.org, or contact Kimberly Wilson, at 813.253.7845/wilson@fl-ate.org.