By Ashley Barker
Published Nov. 18, 2013
In Charleston on Friday, Gov. Nikki Haley told biotechnology industry leaders that higher education is South Carolina’s best friend when it comes to developing the life sciences business.
“We have technical schools that are ready to change on a dime, to change their programs in a way that best fits the needs of the companies of this state,” Haley said during the keynote speech of the S.C. Carolina Biotechnology Industry Organization conference. “Then we have amazing universities — in particular, when you look at Clemson, USC and MUSC. All three of them are ready to do the research that is needed, ready to step up in any way they need to understand the challenges of the future.”
She said university leaders also understand that partnerships are how they’re going to become “strong and impactful” in the economy.
“This is team South Carolina at work. We’re moving the ball as fast as we can. Our goal is make business in South Carolina as easy as possible,” she said.
Haley also emphasized the importance of education reform in the K-12 ages. She plans to roll out an education reform plan in January. If it’s done correctly, Haley said it will become a good business plan for South Carolina in the next eight or nine years and not a one-year fix.
“We don’t need to be educating our children based on where they’re born and raised. We need to be educating them as our future workforce,” she said. “It’s about making sure that when students get to the ninth- and 10th-grade levels, they can already see what the life sciences industry is like; they can already feel what kinds of jobs are available; they can already see what their pathway and career will be, and they’re able to connect with the university that can get them there.”
Haley expects life sciences to be the future emphasis of business development in South Carolina, much like textiles once were. She cited the long-term success of North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park, located near Durham, Raleigh and Chapel Hill, as a similar goal for South Carolina.
“North Carolina’s very good at research. If they can do it, so can we,” she said. “This is just the beginning of what we’re going to do when it comes to manufacturing, research and development, and when it comes to IT.”
Haley said South Carolina is open to life sciences like never before, and the state is taking a creative approach to supporting a sector that is important to the state’s future.
“There has never been a better time to grow the life sciences industry,” she said. “There has never been a better place to grow the life sciences industry.”
Reach Ashley Barker at 843-849-3144 or @AshleyNBarker.