Kansas educators and bioscience professionals will meet at Greenbush Friday morning to discuss how to nurture and grow the bioscience industry in the state, officials said Wednesday.

Kansas educators and bioscience professionals will meet at Greenbush Friday morning to discuss how to nurture and grow the bioscience industry in the state, officials said Wednesday.

The Southeast Kansas Education Service Center at Greenbush, along with KansasBio — the state’s bioscience industry organization — will host the SEK Regional Bioscience Workforce Development meeting on October 29 from 8 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at Greenbush. The meeting is one of eight regional bioscience meetings around the state, said Director of Distance Learning Carol Woolbright, and the only one to be held in Southeast Kansas.

Woolbright said the purpose is to revisit goals set at the 2004 Kansas Bioscience and Innovation Roadmap meetings that aimed to develop a statewide plan to promote bioscience industries in Kansas.

“We want to share with the different regions the information about a survey we took of those bioscience companies to determine what they were looking at when hiring people,” Woolbright said. She continued, saying that surveyors assumed that the companies would hire mostly scientists, but that results showed there was a lack of a properly-trained workforce.

The program includes an update on Kansas bioscience initiatives over the last five years, and the results of a survey recently conducted among bioscience companies to determine what education and job-readiness qualities are needed in prospective employees.

“We need figure out what the other workforce needs are, and how to help educators to better understand how to educate a workforce for Kansas companies and prepare for NBAF (the National Bio- and Agro-defense Facility in Manhattan),” she said.

The main focus for the SEK regional meeting, Woolbright said, will be to address how to educate a bioscience workforce for the state and create jobs in related fields. She said bioscience stakeholders involved in commercial and research activities, as well as educators, economic development professionals, and policy makers will discuss how bioscience industry members and educators can communicate better and promote workforce development.

The featured speaker is Dr. Don Coover, owner of Genetic Horizons: SEK Genetics. Coover will speak on advanced reproductive technology in the cattle industry, and address the advances that have impacted the industry to the present day. He also will talk about technology that needs to be developed to advance the industry in the future.

Other speakers include Dr. Andy Myers, Executive Director of the Kansas Polymer Research Center; Angela Kreps, Director of KansasBio; and Lisa Blair, Director of the Abernathy Science Education Center.

Woolbright said attendees will break into groups during the second half of the meeting.

“They each will have their own agenda, and talk about how to better collaborate to promote bioscience, and how to generate interest in robust collaboration,” Woolbright said.

In the afternoon, KansasBio will send an educational van to Pittsburg High School, where students will be able to take a tour of the bioscience industry in the state. It also will announce an international competition (dubbed bioGENEis) to promote individual research in bioscience. Students will be able to submit their research for review, Woolbright said.

“And they’ll be able to compete for more than $55,000 in prizes and sholarships,” she continued.

Woolbright said anyone is welcome to attend the meetings.