Editor’s note: Jennifer Bosser, assistant executive director for Wake County Economic Development, which is one of the drivers behind the region’s new work force recruitment effort.

RALEIGH, N.C. – Work in the Triangle, a regional talent attraction initiative to connect and recruit top talent with employers and job opportunities in the key industry clusters of the Triangle, took part in the 2012 BIO International Convention in Boston June 18-21.

Representatives with Work in the Triangle participated in the job fair and the main BIO convention, along with other companies from all over the world. Work in the Triangle was one of just two exhibitors with a comprehensive offering of services to job seekers and was the only region in the United States to have a presence at the exhibition.

Speaking with more than 400 job applicants, the Work in the Triangle delegation was impressed with the highly skilled talent that participated in the BIO Career Fair. The minimum requirement to attend BIO Career Fair was a four-year life sciences degree or two-year degree with a focus in biotechnology. Participants, who came from across the United States and other countries, were among the best and brightest talent, with 72 percent of candidates having a master’s degree or higher and 37 percent with a doctoral degree.

The attendees crossed the spectrum of skill sets, including scientists, engineers, sales, clinical research associates, regulatory specialists, touching the spectrum of the Triangle’s life sciences industry sectors, including agricultural biotech, drug development and manufacturing and medical devices.

The exposition attracted new graduates as well as current professionals looking for a career transition. Providing resources to educate job seekers about the employers in the Triangle region, Work in the Triangle’s booth included a unique comprehensive directory and map of the companies located in the Triangle, information on the web portal where candidates can search for jobs and information on companies that currently hiring in the Triangle.

The Research Triangle Region alone boasts more than 500 life science companies, and North Carolina has the first state-sponsored center dedicated to growing a biotech industry. The state produces more than 225,000 jobs, and the Research Triangle’s life science industry employs 33,183 people at 372 sites. In addition, the Research Triangle region is known for its highly skilled workforce, with 46 percent of the region’s workforce 25 years or older holding a bachelor’s degree or higher, making the region one of most educated areas in the United States and one of the most recognized for its talent.

As an incentive, Work in the Triangle held a contest for job fair participants to win a two-night trip to the Triangle, which provided the winner the chance to spend time in the area and see firsthand all of the great things the region has to offer. Participants were encouraged to visit Work in the Triangle’s Facebook page and tag themselves in the photos captured at the career fair with a pair of Smarty Pants glasses.

At the same time the physical job fair was taking place in Boston, a virtual one occurred primarily through Twitter and Facebook, with a strong emphasis on promoting local job openings with local life sciences companies and industry facts and rankings about the life sciences cluster in the Triangle.

Local companies and organizations that participated included Syngenta, Liquidia, Fujifilm Diosynth, NC Biotechnology Center, Research Triangle Foundation and Council for Entrepreneurial Development (CED), among others. The idea behind the virtual job fair was to drive awareness of job opportunities and increase knowledge about companies in the region for Triangle locals. It was such a success that Work in the Triangle experienced more than 300 new visitors to its website on just that day and the Work in the Triangle Campaign as a whole has driven approximately 2,000 new visitors since its launch.

The primary goal of the Work in the Triangle initiative is to find the best and brightest talent for the growing Triangle industry. As one of the fastest growing communities in the nation with a growing list of companies like Citrix, Bandwidth, Red Hat and Syngenta that are looking to hire in the region, the initiative is positioning the Triangle as a community where smart people want to be to work, live, play and learn. Going forward, the Work in the Triangle Initiative will be focusing on executing targeted campaigns around our targeted industry clusters including hosting events locally with industry partners and companies and in target markets across the nation through special events and trade shows, similar to BIO.

The main message the Work in the Triangle campaign sent is that place is an important factor in one’s career decision and the Triangle region is a smart place to work and live. Too often, jobseekers make the mistake of losing sight of the big picture, forgetting to consider that work is just a portion of their life. While finding the right job is critical to career success, it is also important to pick a place to live that will be a smart choice for people and their families.

The Work in the Triangle initiative is about promoting what makes the Triangle a smarter choice: a smarter career, jobs in industries of the future, a smarter lifestyle including affordable housing options, a safe place to live, a temperate climate, and access to lifelong learning, with three tier one research universities, a national ranked community college system and the top ranked public school system in the nation. The initiative is led by Wake County Economic Development and Competitive EDGE4, programs of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Durham Chamber of Commerce, Chapel Hill – Carrboro Chamber of Commerce, Orange County Economic Development, Research Triangle Foundation and the Research Triangle Regional Partnership.