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Accelerating equitable growth in North Carolina’s life sciences cluster
Brookings
2024.05.30
North Carolina’s life sciences cluster is booming. Over the past four decades, North Carolina―anchored by the Raleigh-Durham region―has grown a world-beating cluster of life sciences research and manufacturing. Between 2020 and 2022, life sciences companies committed to invest $9.1 billion and create 12,500 new jobs across the state, including jobs in biopharmaceutical manufacturing that do not require a four-year degree.
For an innovation cluster to evolve toward equity, it requires much more than job training. This case study explores the design and implementation of Accelerate NC’s wide-ranging life sciences talent development strategy, including the expansion of entry-level biopharmaceutical trainings in partnership with community colleges and minority-serving institutions; the creation of ambassadors and other inclusive outreach initiatives; and strategic employer engagement across the sector. It offers lessons on how workforce partners can use creative and tailored outreach, awareness-building, and industry engagement strategies to form a more equitable innovation cluster.