Biotech boom: As Hamilton businesses expand, interest in field grows. UM creates program to train lab workers for GlaxoSmithKline and Rocky Mountain Labs

Montana has fewer than 1,000 biotech jobs, and at least 450 of those are with either GlaxoSmithKline or Rocky Mountain Labs, said Sharon Peterson, executive director of the Montana Bioscience Alliance , a Billings-based trade association formed in 2004 to promote the emerging biotechnology industry in Montana.

The biotech industry as a whole is thriving in the United States and beyond, driven by constant research and innovation. Widespread interest in everything bio "from bioterrorism to biodiesel" is pushing more public and private dollars toward research organizations. All this makes for an increasingly boisterous marketplace in which rural states like Montana stand out as quiet havens, where small startups don’t have to outshout giant corporations to be heard by the powers that be.

By TYLER CHRISTENSEN of the Missoulian

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UM creates program to train lab workers

In the world of lab techs, there is a wide variety of educational requirements everything from individuals who have a certificate but no college degree to people who have doctorate and medical degrees, said Tom Schmit, Lab Tech I course instructor.

The goal for UM’s certificate program is to give people a foundation and confidence to pursue n or at least explore n a science career.

By BETSY COHEN of the Missoulian

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Look for these stories and others about the technology industry in the February issue of Western Montana InBusiness Monthly by subscribing here or on newstands throughout Western Montana.

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