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NCBIO manufacturing companies discussed their workforce needs with North Carolina state legislators during the quarterly meeting of the NCBIO Biotech Manufacturers Forum held online Tuesday, March 2.

Representatives of Biogen, FUJIFILM DioSynth, Grifols, Merck, Novartis, Novozymes and Pfizer were among those who spoke to leaders of the NC General Assembly’s Life Sciences Caucus. Caucus co-chairs Sen. Paul Newton (R-Cabarrus, Union) and Sen. Mike Woodard (D-Durham, Granville) were on the call while Rep. Donna McDowell White (R-Johnston) and Rep. Robert Reives (D-Chatham, Durham) were forced to miss the discussion when the House was called into session just before the meeting began.

Newton and Woodard said they were eager to work with the state’s life sciences companies and wanted to know what the industry’s wish list was.

“We understand that if we can’t provide your workforce, you’re going to go elsewhere. How can we help?” Newton asked. “We absolutely want to facilitate workforce creation. I would like to understand how in big ways and little ways we can help you be successful.”

Woodard said, “In my 15 years as an elected official, I’ve seen a lot of business recruitment. Workforce is always the No. 1 question.” He assured the NCBIO members on the call that workforce development was a top priority and asked them to continue to work with policy makers to prepare the workforce of the future.