According to the Greater Memphis Chamber more than 70,000 people work in the life science industry in the Memphis area. However, most of the local residents aren’t even aware of the bounty of technical jobs that exist there. Some in the industry are hoping to change that. “Many of the students don’t necessarily know what kinds of careers are ahead for them if they focus on math and science in middle and high school”, said the Memphis Academy of Science and Engineering’s executive director, Harold Wingood. But its mentoring program with Memphis medical device maker Smith & Nephew is helping to light the way.
“It’s not just engineers that make the bioscience sector move,” said Gibson “Sunny” Morris with the Mid-South Community College’s Arkansas Delta Training & Education Consortium. ”You can have all the engineers you want, but if you don’t have production workers to make that plant run, it’s not going to be very effective,” Morris said. To that end, his school offers an array of advanced manufacturing programs to help students learn to weld and run machines, among other things.
Also, a work group of medical device companies, university groups and the Bartlett Area Chamber of Commerce are working on a possibly $4 million facility with the up-to-date equipment used in medical device manufacturing to train locals on the specific skills they need to work in the industry.
So, perhaps the mountain is moving to Mohammed instead of Mohammed having to go to the mountain.