Public-private investment will prepare 8th-12th grade students in rural communities for careers in biomanufacturing of agriculture, medicine, food and beverage products.

Thanks to the recently enacted FY 2020 budget for Georgia, funds to support life sciences education in rural school systems through the Georgia Department of Education and the Georgia Youth Science & Technology Centers have been allocated and will soon change what high school students learn.

The new training for teachers will be administered by Georgia Bio, Georgia’s trade association which focuses on driving growth in Georgia’s biosciences industry and its many sectors, including agri-biotech, food and nutrition, bio-based technologies and renewable chemicals.

“The life sciences industry is a leading driver of employment nationally, but leaders express concern about the availability of a strong workforce,” Georgia Bio President & CEO Maria Thacker-Goethe said in a press release. “We need educators to be aware of the vast, high paying jobs available in the life sciences industry here in Georgia. By expanding our proven teacher trainings statewide, we will equip educators with the academic, technical, and leadership skills to meet the students’ interests and industry’s needs.”

These trainings are the first of their kind nationally and set Georgia to be a premier training location for this skilled workforce. Curriculum developed in collaboration with the Georgia Institute of Technology and University of Georgia, specifically the Center for Cell Manufacturing Technologies (CMaT), will prepare students to work in biomanufacturing and the emerging biotech industry. These hands-on applications of STEM learning will solidify what students learn in other classes, as well as provide skills required for tomorrow’s workforce.

According to a press release, Georgia Bio’s membership has been supporting these initiatives for years. Adding State support improves alignment to fuel a high growth, high income industry through educators and students in rural Georgia. Georgia Bio recently reported that employment in the life sciences industry grew by 14.9 percent between 2007 and 2017, a rate nearly twice the national average.

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