Friday, August 26, 2011

Lab worker shortage threatens hot molecular diagnostics industry

A tug-of-war for hiring specialized, hard-to-find lab workers could pull a potential growth industry out of California.
Molecular diagnostic test companies — part of the personalized medicine boom — are competing with hospitals and reference labs for master’s degree-level clinical laboratory scientists, or CLSs. That conflict is driving wages higher, company leaders say, as underfunded job-training programs can’t keep up with demand.
But leaders in the life sciences industry and academia will launch a program in September that could alleviate the supply-demand crush. Tapping federal economic stimulus program cash, the program will narrow the scope of CLS training for molecular diagnostics companies, helping them land the workers they need to quickly send test results back to doctors and patients.
At the same time, the new program could allow hospitals to hold onto more broadly trained lab workers.

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