Monthly Column: New York must do more to compete for biopharmaceutical jobs

 

By: Michael H. Ranzenhofer, State Senator - 61st District


 


The Public Policy Institute for New York State released a report in April, entitled The Global Struggle for Biopharmaceutical Jobs.  According to the report, when it comes to biopharmaceutical jobs, New York is in a global struggle, it must step up its game, and Western New York is in a pivotal position to be a part of the effort.


We’re competing not just with other states within the Northeast – New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts; nor even with just national rivals like California, Texas and North Carolina.  Instead, the report indicates we are in a global competition, with China and India, where new capital is flowing to new and huge laboratory space.


The report recognizes the role Western New York can play in landing these jobs in the State by acknowledging our community’s strong and growing biomedical research base.  A treasure trove of cutting edge research is already ongoing here at the University at Buffalo, Hauptman-Woodward and Roswell Park. 


When I look at the potential, I see a special role for Western New York’s robust research institutions.  We have what pharmaceutical manufacturers crave: a highly educated workforce and a fully integrated lab to plant infrastructure. We also have the biomedical research jewels to restore the crown of growth here in our community. Growth measured in jobs, good-paying ones which can sustain families and communities.


Biopharmaceutical jobs aren’t just high-paying jobs though.  They also have high-multiplier effects as well, meaning for every life science research position created in New York three and half jobs are created elsewhere.  When the manufacturing component is in place that multiplier effect expands to just shy of nine and a half jobs. 


Most importantly, the report recommends more use of our community colleges to establish and accredit degree programs to meet the demand driven job development opportunities in our research labs. It also advises that the State smartly market the incubator potential of our universities and academic health centers to the biopharmaceutical community around the world, so that they invest here in Western New York and across the State.


As your State Senator, my job will be to listen to the experts, then help them develop an agenda to maximize the returns for our community and advance that plan in Albany.  In the State Senate, I will ensure this message of growth and opportunity is delivered at the highest levels of state government.  So that in two years time, another report could be written: entitled how New York not just stepped up its game, but won the championship as the nation’s best competitor in the global struggle for biopharmaceutical jobs. And that Western New York led the way.


 


Senator Ranzenhofer's monthly column appeared in the Amherst, Clarence and Ken-Ton Bee on Wednesday, November 16, 2011.