Posted: May 27, 2004

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

System delivers training to nearly 100 companies in biosciences industry in Minnesota in 2003

To meet the employment demands of Minnesota's growing biosciences industry, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System is providing education and training with a variety of innovative programs, including biochemistry, biotechnology and biomedical technology.

During 2003, the system delivered customized training to nearly 100 companies in the biosciences and medical device industries in Minnesota. The system's 25 community and technical colleges also play an increasing role in training new technicians needed in the biosciences.

"The biosciences are an increasingly important sector of our state's economy, and we are working to support and complement the educational needs of this industry," said James H. McCormick, chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System. "Since 2000, a number of the system's two-year colleges have been awarded $3.7 million for training partnerships with bioscience companies and have trained approximately 3,500 employees."

The system's seven state universities graduate 20 percent of Minnesota's bachelor's degree students with majors in related science and technology fields, or about 1,100 graduates annually, who are employed as lab technicians, research directors, microbiologists and in similar occupations.

"With an adequate source of employees who have the essential knowledge and skills, Minnesota companies can be competitive in the national and international marketplace," McCormick said. "We continue to introduce new education and training programs that can help businesses be innovative and respond to the condensed lifecycle of biomedical products."

Governor Tim Pawlenty recently led a half-day biosciences "trade mission" for business leaders to highlight education, research and business training and partnership opportunities in the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System.

Matt Kramer, commissioner of the Department of Employment and Economic Development, joined the governor for the May 7 event.

Several Minnesota State Colleges and Universities were featured, including Anoka-Ramsey Community College for its successful partnerships with Twin Cities area medical device companies such as Synovis Life Technologies, Inc., Transoma Medical and Possis Medical, Inc. The college, with campuses in Coon Rapids and Cambridge, also offers a two-year biomedical technology program.

Nanoscience technology, a new program starting in fall 2004 at Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount, also was featured on the trade mission. The program recently was awarded an $895,654 grant from the National Science Foundation.

"College and university collaborations with industry involving applied research, internships and employee training are integral parts of most of our science and technology programs," McCormick said. "Our colleges don't design new academic and training programs in a vacuum - they always get input and feedback from business and industry."

Related programs include nanoscience technology, mechanical engineering technology, vacuum technology, renewable energy technology, GIS/GPS technology for agriculture, pipefitting cleanroom construction, semiconductor process technician, biomedical technician, computer integrated manufacturing, chemical technology, instrumentation technology/robotics, Swiss-style machining, quality control technician and others.

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System is responsive to the needs of business, collaborating with employers to provide affordable, customized training and education programs.

Note: See accompanying Bioscience Education and Training fact sheet for details on programs offered in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System.