Scientific jobs to aid Wisconsin economy


Scientific jobs to aid Wisconsin economy
Scientific jobs to aid Wisconsin economy

While the unemployment rate only dipped slightly in Beloit, Wisconsin, last month to 11.1 percent, help appears to be on the way as a number of new scientific jobs are expected to be created this year.

In a recent release, a pharmaceutical and nutrition company announced that it plans to expand its operations in the Beloit area through the construction of a new Cell Science laboratory, which will include state-of-the-art technology designed for research and other operations.

Christopher Wilcox, the company's director of research and development of its Cell Culture & Media Supplementation technologies, said in a statement that the addition of the new building will be important for accomplishing a number of corporate goals.

"The new Cell Science laboratory expands our Media Enhancement Services capabilities for Cell Culture, Vaccines, Microbial Fermentation, and Diagnostics. Additionally, this new research and applications center with leading R&D expertise will advance our ability to customize cell media supplements to meet the evolving needs of the bio-pharma market globally," Wilcox said.

The laboratory, for which the company will invest $10 million, will reportedly feature a customer nutrition center, collaboration suites and a number of flavor labs, according to the release.

The expansion, which is scheduled to be completed in Beloit by August 2012, will reportedly pave the way for 50 new scientific jobs and an additional 30,000 square feet of space for the company.

"Expanding our Cell Science laboratory in the [company] center allows us to advance our media ingredients and supplements portfolio while capturing greater synergies with [the company's] extensive analytical, research, development and applications expertise," noted Edmond Scanlon, president of the corporation's pharma and bio-pharma ingredients business. "This ultimately helps us deliver greater innovation and overall value for customers."

The new scientific positions will be a boost to the Beloit area, which has the second-highest unemployment rate in the state of Wisconsin out of 31 municipalities tracked by the state's Department of Workforce Development.

According to the Beloit Daily News, while the 11.1 percent rate is well above the national average, the figure has fallen significantly since December 2010, when it stood at 12.9 percent. Additionally, the jobless number climbed as high as 14.2 percent this past June, the news source said.

The fluctuating unemployment is particularly alarming considering the fact that nearby Janesville fell to 8.8 percent last month, according to the Daily News.

Apart from the new positions being added in Beloit, there are many new scientific jobs popping up across the country, a number of which are likely to be filled through staffing agencies. In Boardman, Oregon, for instance, a cellulosic ethanol company plans to build a $390 million biofuel refinery that is expected to produce ethanol using poplar trees.

According to the Oregonian, the project is expected to net 250 new construction jobs in addition to approximately 65 new scientific jobs at the plant once it becomes operational. In a statement, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber said that approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to support a grant for the project was "fantastic news" for the local economy.

"This project will support the long-term development of renewable energy resources and boost economic rural development," he said in a statement.

According to a release from BIO, which represents more than 1,000 biotechnology companies, centers and academic institutions in the U.S. and other countries, the project will lead to the creation of 242 indirect jobs in Boardman in addition to the construction positions and those that will be located at the facility.