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Bay Area Medical Labs Face Critical Shortage Of Skilled Workers

SAN JOSE (KCBS) – Despite the high unemployment rate in the state, Bay Area medical laboratories that run genetic tests that predict illnesses patients may suffer later in life have been confronting a shortage of qualified workers.

Industry experts said there are too few genetic molecular biology scientists who have the background and skills to be able to run the tests because few hospitals can afford to offer internships in the field.

“So now our current group of clinical laboratory scientists are aging,” said Marianne Weinell with San Jose State University.

KCBS’ Mike Colgan Reports:

Weinell said more Bay Area diagnostics companies now offer tests that depend on analyzing a patient’s DNA and RNA to create a disease profile, leading to much greater demand for a skill set that was virtually untaught when the current generation of molecular scientists were in school.

Weinell was hired by San Jose State to help administer a clinical lab training program funded by a $5 million stimulus grant.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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