Gov. Nathan Deal attended the Georgia BioScience Training Center’s groundbreaking on Monday. The training facility is designed to develop a customized workforce for Baxter International. It will be located just across from the $1 billion biomanufacturing campus and begin training employees sometime next year. (Staff photo: Jessicah Peters)
COVINGTON — With shovel in hand, Gov. Nathan Deal along with Baxter International executives “broke ground” in preparation for the facility where Baxter and other life sciences industries will be able to train future employees.
“This will be a resource like no other, offering customized training,” said Commissioner Ron Jackson, Technical College System of Georgia. “It will be part of a bigger vision to serve the life sciences industry and build a successful workforce.”
The Georgia BioScience Training Center will support training for Baxter International Inc. employees and for new companies that choose to locate within the state. Located directly across from Baxter’s $1 billion biomanufacturing plant within the Stanton Springs mixed-use park, the center will offer classroom programs, support research and ultimately attract future growth in the life sciences sector.
The facility will be operated by Georgia QuickStart, a program administered by Athens Technical College, and will provide customized training to meet Baxter’s start-up needs and build capacity and curricula within the Technical College System of Georgia for maintaining a long-term pipeline of highly skilled employees who are well-trained in bio-manufacturing operations.
“Some people don’t understand the linkage between education and economic development,” Deal said. “QuickStart is that link. It’s important for us to recruit industries but also provide a workforce that is educated and equipped. We want to have those who have gone from pre-K to receiving a college degree to be able to use that degree in their home state. That’s what this facility will ensure.”
The Georgia BioScience Training Center was designed by Cooper Carry and will be built by the Whiting-Turner construction company. Georgia QuickStart, a division within the Technical College System of Georgia, will operate the 52,000-square-foot facility.
“This Georgia BioScience Training Center will give us one of the most effective tools we can have in economic development to recruit more life science and health IT companies to Georgia,” said Commissioner Chris Carr, Department of Economic Development. “The facility is designated solely to providing customized workforce training as an incentive to attract new biotech jobs to Georgia.”
Baxter’s Vice President and Program Executive Brien Johnson said the company searched more than 100 different locations around the globe but landed in Newton County with some influence from the QuickStart program.
“We chose well,” Johnson said. “The groundbreaking is a tangible example of the state’s commitment to Baxter and dedication to providing a ready workforce.”
Stanton Springs is a project of the Joint Development Authority of Jasper, Morgan, Newton and Walton counties. The 1,620-acre park is located along the I-20 corridor, just east of Covington. The development includes specific areas for residential, light business/industrial/distribution, commercial/retail and office buildings.