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Baldwin hails major win for Wisconsin in new biohealth tech hub, with 30,000 jobs estimated

Baldwin hails major win for Wisconsin in new biohealth tech hub, with 30,000 jobs estimated

FILE - A worker at Reata Engineering and Machine Works programs a Mazak Variaxis machine used to make semiconductor pieces on Feb. 15, 2024, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

By Pat Kreitlow

July 2, 2024

Created by the CHIPS and Science Act, each hub specializes in improving US research and manufacturing—including Wisconsin-led advancements in personalized medicine.

The next generation of Wisconsin jobs has been put on a fast track with Tuesday’s news that the US Department of Commerce is awarding $49 million to a group of public and private sector partners to develop a tech hub dedicated to improvements in biohealth and personalized medicine—creating a combination of research, development, manufacturing, and sales that is estimated to create 30,000 jobs in the state over the next 10 years.

The tech hub award is part of the Biden/Harris administration’s CHIPS and Science Act, a major investment in high technology sectors designed to create a full spectrum of jobs, make advancements in fields like medicine, and make the country less susceptible to supply chain disruptions for everything from semiconductors to components for the medical devices of the future.

In making the announcement, Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin said there were nearly 200 initial applications, with 31 potential tech hub applications accepted by federal officials and only 12 selected for funding to develop and implement their tech hub plan.

“Today’s announcement is proof of what we as Wisconsinites have long known,” Baldwin said. “We have world-class universities, a second-to-none workforce, and a thriving private sector that will drive the next wave of American innovation. Today’s announcement recognizes our state’s rich history of innovation and manufacturing and doubles down on our state’s potential to be a major player in the next chapter of an up-and-coming industry.”

Wisconsin’s biohealth tech hub is a consortium of 15 public and private partners that include private companies, Wisconsin universities and technical colleges, and business and industry groups. Baldwin says they will use the $49 million to expand lab space for research, invest in workforce development, and improve their access to capital to start and grow businesses related to biohealth, such as personalized medicine.

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation executive director Missy Hughes told UpNorthNews earlier about how personalized medicine tailors prevention, testing, treatment, and monitoring based on each patient’s individual characteristics, genetic makeup, medical history, and environmental and lifestyle information.

“Imagine that you have a cancer tumor. In Wisconsin,” Hughes said. “We’re developing not only genomic sequencing for how to treat that cancer, we’re taking all the data that we know all around the world and we’re putting that data into what’s the best treatment for that cancer. And then we’re developing the advanced manufacturing to build the radiography and the machinery—the CAT scans, the MRI’s that are going to treat that cancer. So what we’re seeing is all the way from the classroom and the labs at our universities to the hospital rooms, the potential to really change the game when it comes to your health care.”

Estimates cited by Baldwin show the potential for 30,000 Wisconsin jobs to be created in biohealth over the first decade of the tech hub’s operation, another 110,000 indirect jobs, and a state economic impact of $9 billion in that period—with jobs across the spectrum of wages and skill levels.

“These jobs will cross sectors ranging from working on manufacturing or foundry floors to working in high tech labs,” Baldwin said. She noted there will be an emphasis on ensuring there are opportunities for jobs and training in historically underserved communities, rural areas, tribal, industrial and communities of color.

Baldwin outlined the behind-the-scenes work that created the consortium and developed the plans that led to the tech hub designation, starting with her time on the Senate Commerce Committee as it worked on the CHIPS and Science Act bill.

“I’ve been doing everything in my power to make sure that the case is made that Wisconsin is, in fact, the perfect place for a tech hub,” Baldwin said. “I made calls to the president’s advisors. I sent letters to the president’s cabinet. I held meetings and roundtables to show Wisconsinites our potential. I hosted tours to show why Wisconsin is deserving of a tech hub designation.”

Along with Wisconsin’s biohealth hub, examples of the other 11 tech hubs include biomanufacturing in Indiana, lithium batteries and electric vehicle materials in Nevada, quantum information technology in Colorado and New Mexico, and biofabrication in New Hampshire.

“I’ve always said that in Wisconsin, we make things—and we have iconic items like beer, brats, motorcycles, and cheese,” Baldwin said. “But we also make people’s lives better. This investment will move the needle for how we approach and give health care, helping people lead healthier lives.”

Author

  • Pat Kreitlow

    The Founding Editor of UpNorthNews, Pat was a familiar presence on radio and TV stations in western Wisconsin before serving in the state Legislature. After a brief stint living in the Caribbean, Pat and wife returned to Chippewa Falls to be closer to their growing group of grandchildren. He now serves as UNN's chief political correspondent and host of UpNorthNews Radio, airing weekday mornings 6 a.m.-8 a.m on the Civic Media radio network and the UpNorthNews Facebook page.

CATEGORIES: MONEY AND JOBS
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