Suffolk County’s pharmaceutical and nutraceutical manufacturing industry is the largest manufacturing sector of any county in New York State. But there are challenges.
This is according to “Driving Suffolk County’s Innovation Economy: The Pharmaceutical/Nutraceutical Growth Factor,” a new 48-page report released the week.
The report is from the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency and the Workforce Development Institute, in conjunction with the Long Island Association. The organizations presented the findings earlier this week at LIA headquarters in Melville.
The sector has increased 64 percent in employment since 2004. More than 150 companies make up the pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industry on Long Island, according to the report. The sector employs more than 9,800 employees. The companies produce and market as many as 4,500 products every year.
Yet for this industry, the biggest challenge is attracting and retaining qualified workers while navigating growth, according to experts.
One solution is to create an industry-led trade organization to ensure the industry is instrumental in the region’s “innovation economy,” according to the report.
“When an industry cluster is as integral to our innovation economy as the pharmaceutical/nutraceutical manufacturing sector, it is of vital importance to better understand what makes them tick and what is needed for continued success,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Beeline said in a statement.
“We have been deeply engaged with this industry sector for the past several years with the report being the culmination of this work,” he added. “We remain committed to convening and working with all our partners to continue to create a business environment that is conducive to sustainable growth within this and all sectors that creates opportunity for our employers and residents.”
“The report’s findings validate Empire State Development’s designation of Long Island as the state’s biotech hub and should serve as a call for the region to redouble its efforts to do everything possible to support the sector’s ongoing growth,” Kevin Law, the LIA’s president and CEO, said in a statement.
The report is a “continuation of Suffolk IDA’s proactive efforts to examine the county’s economy and pinpoint sustainable economic and job growth opportunities for our businesses and residents,” Theresa Ward, chair of the Suffolk IDA board of directors, said in a statement.
She called economic development “a team sport,” and said the report serves as an example “of regional entities coming together to tackle shared challenges.
And the “sector aligns with our regional priorities and has the ability to contribute to equitable and inclusive regional growth,” Rosalie Drago, Long Island regional director at the Workforce Development Institute, said in statement.
“The defined career pathways can be accessed by Long Islanders with every level of educational attainment from a high school diploma through PhD,” Drago added. “We have a local emerging and transitioning workforce with the STEAM skills required to power this industry and educational institutions to foster continued advancement for both our people and our employers.”