MassMEDIC’s campaign hopes to revitalize public perception of the industry and bring new talent to the table.

Katie Hobbins, Managing Editor

August 9, 2023

3 Min Read
Manufacturing employees
Blue Planet Studio / iStock via Getty Images

The Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council (MassMEDIC), the largest regional medical device association in the United States, is asking a simple question: why medtech? And why choose it as a career option?

The answer, however, is far from simple and involves a multitude of reasons MassMEDIC thinks people should flock to medical device manufacturing in search of jobs that turn into long-term careers in the space and compensate accordingly.

“I'd like to provide a pathway to learn about [medical device manufacturing],” Brian Johnson, president of MassMEDIC told MD+DI. “When you talk to people from congressional staffers down to young people and tell them, ‘Hey, with no high school degree, you can start making $60,000 and you're on the pathway to making six figures, they listen.”

“Our problem is that we haven't gone everywhere and told this story on the ground,” he continued. “So that's our commitment.”

In its “Why Medtech” campaign, which was launched in 2022, MassMEDIC is working to build awareness of the industry by telling positive stories from people who have been impacted by medical devices or why they choose to work in the field. Additionally, the project will include an industry job search tool and curated economic and academic development resources.

“We initially created ‘Why Medtech’ to respond to what we see as an ongoing problem in the industry which is low awareness [that] is leading to people not understanding that this industry can be a place for them to create and develop an incredible career,” Johnson said. “[It] needs to be more than just a social media campaign or stories, it really needs to be the start of at least one pathway for people to discover the industry, and then start finding ways to raise their hand and say ‘I [want to] be involved in this space.’”

To help move the campaign forward, the association is working with the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) to build a one-stop shop that connects the medtech community in the state, including connecting job searchers with open medtech roles, and removing barriers for medtech companies to uncover state incentives when trying to start or grow their business.

Johnson told MD+DI that, in addition to the work being accomplished to raise awareness for those beginning a career in medtech, he’d like to see a revitalized approach to continued professional education and on-the-job training throughout employment.

“A lot of our companies are over reliant on older workers who are at the age of and past the age of retirement,” he said. “If you were a master technician and able to make full salary, are you [going to] miss work to teach the next generation? Probably not. Not until we're paying the trainer much higher wages. I think this is where we have to be creative as an industry and we have to be a little humble and look at what industries are doing this really well. I think we also have to open our doors a little bit more to academia and do partnerships with them to start creating these holistic pathways where a worker comes in as a fresh 18-year-old and the company pays for part of their education. Then they could earn their degrees and rise [within the company ranks] and make more money.”

He said he understands these changes and the awareness of the industry will take time but is excited to see what the future holds.

“We have this moment where we can start to win back manufacturing in a big way, not just in Massachusetts but across the United States,” he told MD+DI. “We have to actually go into communities where we have manufacturing talent currently and start selling the story internally. I think you need an all-hands approach and a long view on this. It's an exciting program. We're really energized by it.”

About the Author(s)

Katie Hobbins

Managing Editor, MD+DI

Katie Hobbins is managing editor for MD+DI and joined the team in July 2022. She boasts multiple previous editorial roles in print and multimedia medical journalism, including dermatology, medical aesthetics, and pediatric medicine. She graduated from Cleveland State University in 2018 with a bachelor's degree in journalism and promotional communications. She enjoys yoga, hand embroidery, and anything DIY. You can reach her at [email protected].

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