Thermo Fisher Scientific
Specialized Education in New York State Accelerates Global Growth
“We have set up programs now with the local community colleges to help us educate people in the types of skills we need.”
Vice President/General Manager, Labware and Specialty Plastics
Location: Waltham, MA and Rochester, NY
Description: Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. is the world leader in serving science, with revenues of $17 billion and 50,000 employees in 50 countries. The company’s mission is to enable customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer. Thermo Fisher helps their customers accelerate life science research, solve complex analytical challenges, improve patient diagnostics and increase laboratory productivity.
Employees: 50,000 Worldwide; 1,000 New York State
Revenue: $17 billion (global)
While access to highly-educated graduates remains one of New York’s top draws for bioscience and medical technology, another type of workforce development could do a lot for keeping companies in the state.
Verner Andersen, vice president and general manager of labware and specialty plastics at the Thermo Fisher Scientific Rochester facility, believes that collaborating with community colleges, as seen in Southern states, would be a big benefit for New York, where innovation is often stifled by lack of manufacturing manpower.
“We have set up programs now with the local community colleges to help us educate people in the types of skills we need, but the state could do much more,” he said.
Thermo Fisher, which manufactures innovative analytical instruments, lab equipment and specialty diagnostics, gets involved at the high school level to steer more young people toward skilled trades and into their facility.
“Young people have to pursue employment where job opportunities exist and right now in this country, jobs exist in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) area,” Andersen said. “There is a much greater opportunity to get a job if you target a career in the STEM sector because that could steer you towards a two-year associate’s degree and allow you to become a skilled worker — and land a good-paying job that will never leave upstate New York.”
Andersen used some examples of manufacturers in other states who worked with local governments to establish programs specific to the type of work that would be available in their major plants. Those new job opportunities lift a local economy.
“When these plants were starting up, they worked with their local governments to develop their workforce,” Andersen said. “The government has learned how to serve these industries to attract them and support their success.”
More jobs – higher-paying jobs – benefit everyone and will allow upstate New York to grow with the industry.
“We’re probably one of the biggest manufacturing businesses in the greater Rochester area. We do bring a lot of jobs into Rochester and we continue to hire more people each year,” Andersen said.