PROVIDENCE – Tech Collective, Rhode Island’s bioscience and information technology industry association, released the Rhode Island Bioscience Skills Gap Study today, which profiles the burgeoning bioscience industry in Rhode Island and comprehensively focuses on its workforce needs.
“Rhode Island’s bioscience industry is one of high potential – both to impact the Rhode Island economy and workforce, as well as to improve our global well-being,” said Kathie Shields, executive director of Tech Collective. “The purpose of the bioscience skills gap report is to foster that potential through identifying the workforce needs of this industry and offering recommendations to meet those needs. Tech Collective looks forward to working with the industry and academic and government stakeholders to support and strengthen Rhode Island’s bioscience industry.”
The report is an update to the collective’s 2009 study: At the Heart of Bioscience: Rhode Island Skills Gap Report. The updated study, funded by an Industry Partnership grant through the Governor’s Workforce Board, was researched and compiled using local and national industry data and garnering Rhode Island employer insights via focus groups, one-on-one interviews and an employer survey. Findings of the report aim to raise awareness of and guide investments in Rhode Island’s bioscience workforce.
R.I. companies seek skilled workforce
In a Web-based survey used to collect data from state employers, 90 percent of Rhode Island’s bioscience employers indicated that they were mostly optimistic about industry growth, anticipating company expansion over the next three to five years. Despite the anticipation for growth, Rhode Island employers also expressed challenges in finding and keeping talent.
Survey respondents cited “lack of skilled workers/candidates to hire” most often as the biggest workforce challenge at their company, particularly with mid-level chemical and mechanical engineer positions and entry-and-mid-level regulatory affairs specialists.
Technical writing/documentation proved to be one of the most critical technical skills missing from bioscience talent pools, along with a range of professional skills gaps that include: critical thinking and problem solving, the ability to work independently and project management.