Making it in San Diego: Biotech fields seek veterans for jobs

Posted at 4:55 PM, Sep 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-17 12:07:37-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — San Diego's accelerating biotech industry is stepping up its efforts to attract veterans to apply for its open jobs. 

On Friday, the industry held a symposium with some of San Diego's key life science companies, such as Illumina, NuVasive, and Neurocrine, on ways to get military members transitioning out of service to become their employees. 

Andrew Lukowiak, chief executive of Millennium Health, said veterans bring a set of soft-skills that apply to many of the field's jobs, which don't require a highly technical degree.

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"Accountability, leadership, commitment to the diversity of being able to talk to and communicate with many different types of people - those are great skill sets that the biotech industry, the life sciences industry, actually needs today," he said. 

Joe Panetta, who runs the industry group Biocom, said the field pays an average $117,000 per year. The organization will host a biotech job fair for veterans on Nov. 9. 

"We not only need folks in the sciences, but we need folks with business skills, math skills, engineering skills, so there's a broad array of talent that military folks can bring into the life science industry," he said.

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On Friday, veteran job seekers were able to network and participate in mock interviews. 

Lance Jackola, a retired Marine Corps Lt. Col, participated in one of those interviews as he looks for a job in biotech. 

"I'm looking for something that is meaningful to me, that inspires me, that I'm passionate about," he said. "I know that the right job is out there. It's just a matter of finding the right position."