Click here to close now.


News Feed Item

Tech Collective Releases Rhode Island Bioscience Workforce Skills Gap Study

Tech Collective, Rhode Island’s Bioscience and Information Technology industry association, today released its Rhode Island Bioscience Skills Gap Study. The report can be downloaded at; copies will be distributed at the Bioscience Industry Skills Gap Forum on Wednesday, March 26th from 8:30-10:30am at Save the Bay in Providence. Panelists from Alexion Pharmaceuticals, EpiVax, Inc., Tedor Pharma, and Amgen will discuss the report and bioscience workforce challenges and approaches (see below for panelists and more information).

The bioscience skills gap report profiles the burgeoning bioscience industry in Rhode Island and comprehensively focuses on its workforce needs. Career and professional development opportunities are explored along with K-12 education pathways. Concluding the report are recommendations to foster workforce and industry growth.

Included in the report is a timeline identifying bioscience industry development, workforce training, and K-16 education achievements over the past decade. In looking at the bioscience industry as a young innovation ecosystem, the report also cites the need for industry, academic, and government support. Other competitive factors influencing the industry are noted, including access to capital, infrastructure, and research facilities.

The report follows Tech Collective’s 2009 At the Heart of Bioscience: Rhode Island Skills Gap Report. The updated bioscience industry study 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. The Rhode Island Bioscience Skills Gap Study was funded by an Industry Partnership grant through the Governor’s Workforce Board Rhode Island (GWBRI).

“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.”

Industry Overview

Rhode Island employs 4,602 bioscience professionals across the industry and has a total employment impact of an additional 11,847 workers. The bioscience industry participates on national and global levels and is comprised of five sectors: drugs and pharmaceuticals; medical devices and equipment; research, testing, and medical laboratories; agricultural feedstock and biofuels; and bioscience-related distribution. Rhode Island’s greatest strengths lie in drugs and pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and research and development.

Report Findings

Bioscience leaders we spoke with expressed optimism and growth, with 90 percent of respondents anticipating their company will expand in the next 3-5 years. Still, employers indicated their biggest workforce challenge is a lack of skilled workers to hire.

In a highly specialized industry, workers proficient in both technical and professional skill sets are valued by employers. Technical skills gaps included: technical writing/documentation, regulatory compliance, quality assurance, research, and Good Clinical/Laboratory/Manufacturing Practice (GCP, GLP, and GMP, respectively). Professional skills gaps included: critical thinking, communications, teamwork, leadership, cultural awareness, project management, and the ability to work independently. Employers also look to retain workers with interdisciplinary knowledge in business operations, manufacturing, and other areas related to the biosciences.

Looking at bioscience education and career pathways, the report identifies entry-level requirements, professional development training methods and priorities, and K-12 and higher education programs. Experiential learning was identified as one of the most important ways to bridge bioscience studies with industry experience. Especially Rhode Island’s smaller bioscience companies are receptive to internships, work experience, and mentoring the incoming workforce.


Recommendations following the report aim to inspire and engage youth in the STEM fields through the state’s Bioscience Academies, integration into K-12 curriculum, and integrated or after school STEM programs; support for and increased participation in higher education and experiential learning opportunities; expanded workforce training and professional development funding; and increased industry awareness and advocacy, including support of the Economic Intersections of Rhode Island action agenda led by Commerce RI and the Rhode Island Foundation.

Skills Gap Forum: Bioscience Industry

Kicking off the bioscience focus of Tech Collective’s Skills Gap Series, the Bioscience Industry panel discussion will be held on Wednesday, March 26th, 2014 from 8:30-10:30am at Save the Bay in Providence. Industry panelists will discuss the findings of the report as well as current and future initiatives the state can undertake to grow and innovate in the industry. Panelists:

  • Karen DaSilva, Associate Director, Human Resources, Alexion Pharmaceuticals
  • Cliff Grimm, Managing Director, EpiVax, Inc.
  • Matthew Iorio, Executive Vice President, Tedor Pharma
  • Katherine Chaloupka, Senior Scientist, Process Development, Amgen

The Skills Gap Series forums are open to the public. Industry, academic, and state leaders and stakeholders are encouraged to attend. For more information or attend, visit

About Tech Collective: Tech Collective is Rhode Island’s Information Technology and Bioscience Industry Association. Uniting industry, government and academic stakeholders, our mission is to inspire, engage, educate and employ a high-skill, high-wage Knowledge Economy in Rhode Island. Since its transition from the Rhode Island Technology Council (RITEC) in 2004, Tech Collective has received more than $8M in federal, state and private grant funding to foster industry collaboration, awareness and development through events and initiatives including: the Tech10 awards, the Rhode Island Bioscience Awards, GRRL Tech, Women in Technology, Bio-Ed, and STEM-based education and training programs for K-16 students as well as incumbent and transitioning workers. Get connected to Tech Collective at, on Facebook (TechCollectiveRI), and on Twitter (@Tech_Collective).

More Stories By Business Wire

Copyright © 2009 Business Wire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Business Wire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Business Wire. Business Wire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true ...
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem"...
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound...
Container technology is shaping the future of DevOps and it’s also changing the way organizations think about application development. With the rise of mobile applications in the enterprise, businesses are abandoning year-long development cycles and embracing technologies that enable rapid development and continuous deployment of apps. In his session at DevOps Summit, Kurt Collins, Developer Evangelist at, examined how Docker has evolved into a highly effective tool for application del...
PubNub has announced the release of BLOCKS, a set of customizable microservices that give developers a simple way to add code and deploy features for realtime apps.PubNub BLOCKS executes business logic directly on the data streaming through PubNub’s network without splitting it off to an intermediary server controlled by the customer. This revolutionary approach streamlines app development, reduces endpoint-to-endpoint latency, and allows apps to better leverage the enormous scalability of PubNu...
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, San...
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user e...
In today's enterprise, digital transformation represents organizational change even more so than technology change, as customer preferences and behavior drive end-to-end transformation across lines of business as well as IT. To capitalize on the ubiquitous disruption driving this transformation, companies must be able to innovate at an increasingly rapid pace. Traditional approaches for driving innovation are now woefully inadequate for keeping up with the breadth of disruption and change facin...
I recently attended and was a speaker at the 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I also had the opportunity to attend this event last year and I wrote a blog from that show talking about how the “Enterprise Impact of IoT” was a key theme of last year’s show. I was curious to see if the same theme would still resonate 365 days later and what, if any, changes I would see in the content presented.
Cloud computing delivers on-demand resources that provide businesses with flexibility and cost-savings. The challenge in moving workloads to the cloud has been the cost and complexity of ensuring the initial and ongoing security and regulatory (PCI, HIPAA, FFIEC) compliance across private and public clouds. Manual security compliance is slow, prone to human error, and represents over 50% of the cost of managing cloud applications. Determining how to automate cloud security compliance is critical...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data...
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty ...
In his General Session at DevOps Summit, Asaf Yigal, Co-Founder & VP of Product at, explored the value of Kibana 4 for log analysis and provided a hands-on tutorial on how to set up Kibana 4 and get the most out of Apache log files. He examined three use cases: IT operations, business intelligence, and security and compliance. Asaf Yigal is co-founder and VP of Product at log analytics software company In the past, he was co-founder of social-trading platform Currensee, which...