ASU accepts $2M grant to prepare workers for MedTech jobs
This week the Arizona State University Foundation accepted a $2 million check from the Maricopa County Industrial Development Authority. MCIDA’s investment will fund a new workforce development project to accelerate innovation and entrepreneurship in Maricopa County. The Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering will lead the new project to prepare existing, emerging and future members of Maricopa County’s workforce for jobs in the growing fields of medical electronic technology (MedTech) and additive manufacturing – both areas of expertise in the Fulton Schools.
Maricopa County is one of the fastest growing counties in the country (in 2016, 222 residents moved to the county each day). More county residents are joining the workforce just as new technologies like MedTech are finding their home in Maricopa County. With a focus on preparing learners for the future, it is fitting that ASU is working with MCIDA to prepare workers for jobs in emerging technology fields.
“This investment will help us bring together experts from academic, industrial and entrepreneurial settings to spur workforce development on a grand scale,” said Kyle Squires, dean of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. “This cross-disciplinary training program shares the Fulton Schools’ expertise, infrastructure, and resources while promoting economic growth in Maricopa County.”
Wearable electronics and handheld portable devices that provide on-demand diagnostic information for patients and their health care providers and exemplify why it’s important to have a highly skilled workforce that can meet these growing demands.
“The medical technology industry is uniquely suited to grow here in Maricopa County, thanks to existing hospitals, industry pioneers such as Medtronic, and the minds of a world-class university in ASU,” said Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Steve Chucri, District 2. “This grant from the IDA is an example of a public-private partnership that can help grow and diversify our economy and bring jobs that improve the quality of life in Maricopa County.”
MedTech combines biotechnology, nano/micro-technology, information technology and cognitive sciences to deliver health care solutions that have a profound positive impact on individual and public health. Additive manufacturing, the process by which many of these health care solutions will come to life, is particularly useful for rapid prototyping and low-volume parts manufacturing.
Participants in the program will have access to a MedTech entrepreneurism course taught by ASU faculty and industry and entrepreneurial subject matter experts; hands-on, high-tech training at ASU’s Flexible Electronics & Display Center; internships and apprenticeships at companies like Medtronic and Gore; and connections with MedTech startups. ASU will also work with the Maricopa County Community College District and other local educational institutions to develop training certification programs that meet industry needs and improve the capacity to commercialize new MedTech products.
Many elements of the program will be available to participants starting summer 2018, with all program elements open in the fall. ASU is working with MCIDA to ensure that students, engagements and academic program cycles coordinate with the funding goals of the program.
“We want to fund programs and organizations that have a real shot at making a difference in people’s lives, whether that’s helping vulnerable populations or bringing high-tech, high-wage jobs to the region,” said Maricopa County Industrial Development Authority President Steven Bales, Jr. “The MedTech program at ASU is a perfect fit with our mission, and we’re optimistic that our initial investment will help boost Maricopa County’s position as a leader and innovator in the field.”
MCIDA works to spur economic development, increase the availability of affordable housing, aid in job growth, and improve the State’s economy through access to low-cost financing and community investments. MCIDA’s $2 million grant will jump-start the new workforce development program.