The Massachusetts State Senate voted on May 31 to pass a bill extending the state’s investment in life sciences research and training to capitalize on the state’s national advantage in the sector responsible for thousands of jobs in the state.
The bill, S.2531, An Act providing continued investment in the life sciences industry in the Commonwealth, extends the state’s life sciences tax incentive program for another ten years, proposes millions of dollars in grants to community colleges and vocational schools to increase employment opportunities, and authorizes spending on initiatives to promote regional efforts to advance innovations in bio-manufacturing. The bill is based on the $1 billion, ten-year initiative launched by Gov. Deval Patrick in 2007.
“The biotech and life sciences industry is a major economic driver in Massachusetts, and a hub of innovation for the global economy,” said Senator Jason Lewis. “With this legislation, our state can dramatically expand workforce development in life sciences and continue to develop our world-class industrial and bio-manufacturing capacity.
Senator Lewis was particularly pleased with a provision in the bill, which he helped to write, that promotes workforce development programs, like apprenticeships, in the life sciences sector. As the Senate Chair of the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development and a longstanding champion for working families, Senator Lewis emphasized that the growth and gains of the life sciences sector should create opportunities for all Massachusetts workers.
The bill also authorizes spending for innovative new programs at the state’s UMass campuses, including:
- a biotechnology and precision manufacturing research and training facility at UMass-Amherst
- a center for nursing innovation at UMass-Boston
- expansion and renovation of the center for advanced bio-manufacturing and digital health at UMass-Dartmouth
- a joint proposal between UMass-Lowell and UMass Medical School to advance neuroscience workforce training, research and commercialization of medical devices
The bill will be reconciled with a version passed by the House of Representatives before going to the governor for his signature.