Bio Nebraska is an association of 70 innovative Nebraska bioscience companies – human and animal health, drugs and pharmaceuticals, ag processing and chemicals, medical devices and labs – ranging from small, emerging organizations to large multinationals.

Nebraska’s biosciences industry is sizable, growing, and diverse – but one commonality, Bio Nebraska executive director Phil Kozera said, is the need for a highly educated workforce.

“The University of Nebraska is critical to the growth of our industry because of the talent pipeline that’s coming through your doors,” Kozera said.

Nebraska’s biosciences industry accounts for more than 15,000 jobs and more than $2 billion in economic impact, according to Bio Nebraska. And, it’s grown by almost 7 percent since 2007.

“We have a statewide footprint,” Kozera said. He estimates some 45 percent of biosciences industry is located outside of Lincoln and Omaha.

That means folks from rural communities, or who want to live there, have access to high-wage, professional careers.

But that’s only if the university continues to serve as a “tremendous resource.”

If not?

“As opposed to a growing industry, we’d likely see one that contracts,” Kozera said.