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K-State Olathe
22201 W. Innovation Dr.
Olathe, KS 66061-1304

913-541-1488 fax

Building the Animal Health Industry Talent Pipeline

The Greater Kansas City region is home to the Animal Health Corridor — the largest, centralized animal health company concentration in the work with 300+ public and private animal health companies. The area also is the new home of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) — the nation's foremost animal disease research facility.

The Challenge

Meeting the demand for a diverse and highly technical workforce for an animal health industry, which is slated to double over the next 25 years.

The Opportunity

The Greater Kansas City area is the home of three major universities, three community colleges and more than 50 high schools. This infrastructure serves as the foundation for training the next generation of animal health workers, spanning a wide range of career types. 

The Strategy

Engaging Greater Kansas City area high school students is fundamental to meeting workforce needs for the growing animal health industry. Highly qualified science teachers are integral to student interest and ultimately the region's future in the animal health industry.

To help meet workforce demands, a unique partnership between academia and industry is being formed. This collaboration will lead to programs that engage and excite high school students and prepare them for post-secondary training at the region's universities and technical schools. 

Biotechnology training for high school science teachers

Capacity building in animal health through biotechnology training for high school science teachers is a program designed to integrate animal health topics into the general science curriculum as a means to engage high school students in the pursuit of animal health-related careers. Key program elements include:

  • Beginning the summer of 2020, high school teachers in the region will be recruited to participate in a summer animal health "boot camp."

  • Teachers will be immersed in the various aspects of biotechnology and introduced to topics related to the animal health industry. The training establishes the basis for developing relevant classroom science curricula and career-related materials.

  • A special emphasis is placed on schools serving underrepresented communities.

  • Post-training workshops will be held to further reinforce the basic principles learned and to further develop classroom and career path materials. 

  • Participating teachers will receive a $3,500 stipend to cover their professional involvement and travel costs from home to the K-State Olathe campus.

  • Download a flier (pdf) about the summer 2020 training sessions for high school teachers. 

  • Spots are limited for this training. Download an application (pdf) today, complete the form and email it to k12ed@k-state.edu.

  • Due to COVID-19-related interruptions to campus operations, the application deadline has been extended to March 31 and selected teachers will be notified by mid-April. 


How industry can help

If you would like to support the future workforce and biotechnology training in schools, your organization can explore the following options:

1. Participate in the curriculum development process.

2. Provide short internship opportunities for teacher trainees. 

3. Sponsor classroom activities through the purchase of instructional materials.

4. Support stipends for summer training programs. 




The animal health industry by the numbers

The animal health industry is a backbone in America's economy and a major player in the global marketplace. 

• 21,000+ jobs with $1.2 billion in combined wages

• $30 billion global industry

• Projected to be a $70 billion industry by 2050 

• 25 percent of KC companies specialize in animal health

• NBAF will have 350 jobs at the lab and a $3.5 billion projected economic impact in its first 20 years 

In the animal health industry, discovering, developing, manufacturing, distributing and promoting products, research and knowledge are all possible career paths. And, all these career paths exist in the Greater Kansas City region and at the soon-to-be-operational National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility — the nation’s foremost animal disease research facility in Manhattan, Kansas. 

Career paths with an animal health education

Working with Animals

• Animal Care

• Companion Animal Behavior

• Genetics

• Meat and Dairy Production

• Pet Services

• Veterinary Medicine

• Wildlife Rehabilitation

Working with Business, Government and Entrepreneurship

• Agriculture Advocacy

- 4-H
- extension agent
- councils

• Customs and Inspections Services

• Economics

• Federal Oversight and Outreach Organizations 

- United Nations

• Law/Public Policy

- Animal welfare
- Environmental

• Nonprofits

- Humanitarian organizations
- PeaceCorps

• Sales and Marketing

Working with People

• Advertising

• Consulting

• Education/Academia

• Journalism

• Military

• Public Health

• Public Relations

Working with Science and Technology

• Engineering

• Environmental Sciences

• Feed and Supplement Companies

• Information Technology (IT)

• Logistics

• Manufacturing

• Research

• Vaccine and Pharmaceutical Development






Laura Loyacono