Mayor Richard M. Daley today welcomed to Chicago officials of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), whose 2010 convention will bring more than 15,000 attendees to McCormick Place May 3-6. The convention was also held in Chicago in 2006.
“Chicago and Illinois already have a significant presence in the biotech field and we welcome the chance to highlight it to the international leaders of the industry,” Daley said at a news conference held at Northwestern University’s Prentice Women’s Hospital, 250 E. Superior St., at which he was joined by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn.
Daley said having the convention here is significant because biotechnology is one of the major growth industries of the 21st century and will play a critical role in the development of Chicago’s economy. Nationally, the biosciences employed 1.3 million people in the United States in 2006 and supported an additional 7.5 million related jobs.
“Attracting more biotech-based companies to our city is a big part of my vision for the economy that we are working to build and that will ensure that we remain competitive in the global economy,” the Mayor said.
“I’m proud that Chicago and the Midwest region have become a global center of intellectual capital. Our city boasts an abundance of new product and technology advancements with some of the world’s leading companies,” he said.
The region is home to a large and growing cluster of biopharma companies that contribute more than 40,000 direct jobs and Chicago features state-of-the-art facilities located at the Illinois Medical District’s Chicago Technology Park and the University Technology Park at Illinois Institute of Technology which together are home to 49 companies.
The Mayor said that in planning to secure Chicago’s economic future, he is determined to make Chicago the most competitive destination for new businesses and new jobs in the world.
Toward that goal, he said the City has:
• Redesigned its workforce training programs to focus on expanding Chicago's role in the sectors of the economy that will provide the jobs of the future – including biotechnology.
• Created new 'career academies' in the Chicago Public Schools to provide students with the skills they need to get good jobs in modern industries, especially those involving technology and life sciences.
• Begun the process of reinventing the City Colleges of Chicago so that they provide students with far more sophisticated job training, as well as higher education, to meet the requirements of information-driven jobs.
• Worked closely with and helped to fund the Illinois Biotech Organization, which is an industry-initiated, not-for-profit organization that promotes education, training and research initiatives with the goal of helping create a globally-recognized biotechnology center in Chicago and the Midwest.
“Clearly, hosting the 2010 BIO convention gives us a wonderful opportunity to tell our story to the leaders of this industry,” he said.
Daley said attracting the BIO convention this year is also important because of the critical role conventions and tourism play in the economic health of Chicago.
Domestic and international travelers’ spending generates almost $4.1 billion in payroll income and almost 132,000 jobs for Chicago area residents.
“We understand that we must restore Chicago's competitive edge in the global convention and tourism marketplace and we are taking steps to do just that,” he said.
More than 15,000 industry leaders from 48 states and 60 countries will attend the BIO convention. BIO represents more than 1,200 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations.
“Having BIO here this year sends a very positive message around the country that Chicago remains the nation’s premier convention and meeting destination,” Daley said.
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