Biogen Idec Hunts For Local Hires

Locals wanted. That's the message Biogen Idec Inc. is sending with an open house at its new manufacturing plant in Oceanside this Thursday from noon to 6 p.m., said David Broad, the plant's general manager. With the plant scheduled to begin operation late this year, Biogen Idec plans to add 75 to 80 people to the plant's staff, now at 500 employees. The plant will produce Tysabri, a new drug for multiple sclerosis patients. Broad said nearly all those hired will be manufacturing operators, in charge of the sophisticated machinery that makes Tysabri. The Cambridge, Mass.-based biotechnology company wants to hire North County residents, especially Oceanside residents, Broad said. Local hiring is Biogen Idec's way of expressing gratitude for the city of Oceanside's help in getting the plant built. "The city of Oceanside very actively partnered with us to help us get this facility," Broad said. "We want to repay them." In addition, local hires are less expensive to hire and more apt to stick around, he added. "I want local people who want to live in Oceanside," he said. "I want them to think of themselves as Oceansiders. To bring in outsiders costs money. We have to pay huge relocation costs." There's a shortage of trained biotech manufacturing workers in North County, Broad said, but that's also true nationwide. Biogen Idec's solution is to train their own, in partnership with MiraCosta College and other local colleges and universities, he said. The company is looking for ethical, hardworking people who know how to pay attention to detail, Broad said. Detail and precision are critical, he said, because the product is a human medicine. The training course takes six months. "These are worthwhile jobs, well-paying with good benefits," Broad said. "They are also great stepping stones for people. Biotech manufacturing people are well thought of within the biotech organization." The open house includes tours every half-hour until 5 p.m. Be prepared for a long hike around the huge plant and wear comfortable walking shoes, the company advises on its Web site (www.biogenidec.com/abm4/). Tour goers are asked to sign up in advance for the tours. The plant is located at One Antibody Way. Exit College Blvd., go north to Oceanside Blvd. Turn left and go to Corporate Centre. Turn right and go to One Antibody Way. Turn right again and park in the first parking lot. Those interested in being hired should bring a copy of their resume to the open house. For information, call (760) 231-2599 or e-mail David.Broad@biogenidec.com.

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