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Georgia celebrates BioScience Training Center
The Georgia BioScience Training Center in Stanton Springs. - photo by Darrell Everidge

The focus of Baxalta’s arrival to Newton County and the development of Stanton Springs has been the more than 1,000 jobs and direct economic impact of the immense project.

However, the other major statewide impact is Baxalta’s production facility and its marking of a bioscience presence in Georgia, is the preparedness of Georgia residents to work in the Life Sciences industry.

The education aspect is a key in getting the 1,500-person workforce needed to operate the Baxalta facility, which will produce plasma-derived therapies for immune deficiencies medications. When Baxter Int., which split into two companies, including Baxalta in July, announced its arrival to Newton County in 2012, a commitment was also made to develop a training center.

Quick Start, a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia, will operate the $14 million facility to train employees with work environments and biomanufacturing technologies in classrooms that include the Gowning Simulation Room, the Pilot Lab, Analytical Lab Training, Sterilization Lab Training, Maintenance Lab and Classroom training.

“I walked in first thing I thought and said is ‘wow,’said Baxalta Executive Vice President, Immunology Jacobi Leonardi. “It’s such an inspiring facility. First of all, it’s beautiful. I’m also impressed about what it’s going to mean for our community. I think it’s a key symbol of both what we’re committed to for our patients that we serve and also for the state of Georgia.”
That training center, which held its groundbreaking in March of 2014 and opened in April of 2015, celebrated its official ribbon cutting Thursday.

Gov. Nathan Deal, Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Chris Carr, Senior Vice President, Head of Global Operations for Baxalta Inc. John Furey, Executive Vice President of Immunology for Baxalta Inc. Jacopo Leonardi and other dignitaries were on hand for the ceremony.

The center offers hands-on training for life science employment opportunities, which can be customized to a specific employer. Currently, students are working on replicas of what they will be using for Baxalta.

“If you think about what Baxalta is doing here, and ultimately we’ll be up and running with 1,500 colleagues generating life-saving therapies, other companies will look at that model will look at our success they will come,” said Baxalta Senior Vice President, Head of Global Operations John Furey. “And over time the ambition will be realized.”

The BioScience Center is on the campus of Baxalta, which is building a greater than one million square foot facility, estimated at a $1 billion investment in a construction project that is expected to run from 2013-2016. Baxalta is expected to begin commercial operations in 2018.

“This will be a tremendous positive economic impact for Covington, Newton County and all of the surrounding counties that have gone into partnership with this campus that has been provided for this Baxalta facility and hopefully other companies that will come in the future,” Deal said. “It is not only just jobs, but these are high paying jobs. These are jobs that require specific technical skills. That is what this training facility is designed to impart to these perspective employees. It will have a great economic impact immediately, but it will have continuing long term positive economic impacts bringing people here or training people who are already here to have these kinds of jobs.”