The Medical Innovations Pathways program is an excellent example of a partnership between state government, industry and education. The program assesses gaps in Utah’s life science industry workforce, provides meaningful programs and policy, brings together key stakeholders and creates a pipeline to prescribe meaningful solutions. It’s one example of Utah’s ability to convene and collaborate among stakeholders within its expanding economy.
The program started in 2016 with one school district and six students and recently celebrated its third graduating of more than 50 students. It continues to be a popular program and its graduates are well-equipped to meet the growing demand for medical students with high-demand skills.
“The genius of the Medical Innovations Pathways program is that it links classroom learning to real-world industry experience,” said Denise Bell, vice president for programming and government affairs with BioUtah. “Students not only get relevant coursework, but they get to know some of the best life science leaders in the business. They graduate with a Medical Innovations Certificate that puts them first in line to start well-paid careers right after high school and be part of an innovative industry that’s all about saving lives.”
The program has since expanded from the Granite School District and is now available to students in the Canyons, Davis, Jordan and Tooele school districts. Several Utah companies including Biomerics, Merit Medical Systems, Nelson and Stryker have hired students after completing the program.
“The Medical Innovations Pathways program helped us increase awareness of the life science industry and has provided a pipeline for companies to fill their workforce needs. We appreciate BioUtah and our education partners for helping us fill our talent needs,” says Jake Willis, project portfolio manager at Nelson Laboratories.
Due to the success of the program, and the need to expand their workforce, additional life science companies have joined the program. Currently, 12 companies are participating to help develop the next generation of medical innovation professionals including Becton Dickinson (BD), Biofire Diagnostics, Biomerics, Edwards Lifesciences, Fresenius, Merit Medical Systems, Nelson Laboratories, PolarityTE, Sintx, Stryker, Teva Pharmaceuticals, and Varex Imaging. Many of these companies provide tuition reimbursement to help students continue along the life science pathway.