Gov. Charlie Baker’s proposed $500 million extension of the life sciences initiative put in place by his predecessor in 2008 will put a greater emphasis, according to the governor, on workforce building to support industries that have taken root in Massachusetts.

Baker on Monday put forward a plan to spend heavily over the next five years on capital grants and tax incentives tied to private sector job creation. The proposal re-ups the 10-year, $1 billion program put in place early in Gov. Deval Patrick’s first term that is largely due to expire after next year.

“We are going to focus a lot more on what I would call the workforce development piece this time and a little less on the brick and mortar,” Baker said in a statement. “A lot of the money that went into the first set of investments associated with this really built a lot of capacity. This is going to be a lot more about more targeted pursuit of enhancing the workforce here in Massachusetts, working with colleges and universities and other skill-building organizations.”

That doesn’t mean the administration is turning its back on infrastructure or corporate recruitment.

“We will continue to make smart investments in the expansion or the relocation of companies to Massachusetts as long as we think they work for us,” Baker said in a statement. The governor also said that the nature of the life sciences industry made the five-year commitment, as opposed to another 10 years, more attractive.

“Five years these days in this industry is plenty long enough. Ten years is probably too long,” he said.

The governor will fly to California on Tuesday to take part in the 2017 International BIO Conference.

“BIO is a big opportunity for us to talk about the great stuff that’s going here, but also to make the case to a lot of folks that there’s a tremendous ecosystem here across all kinds of technology and innovative sectors and I would like to take that opportunity to make that case to people,” Baker said in a statement.

Massachusetts Life Sciences Center President and CEO Travis McCready, House and Economic Development Assistant Secretary for Business Growth Mike Kennealy, senior advisor and Chief Secretary Tim Buckley and Deputy Chief of Staff Mike Vallarelli are joining Baker on his trip to California.

According to McCready, the life sciences center is sending director of business development and regional strategy chief Ben Bradford, senior business development associate Sandhya Iyer, senior associate for industry programs Monica Anc and director of government affairs Colin Donnelly.

Thousands of industry insiders will be in attendance and Baker plans to address the conference on Wednesday. The convention will move to Boston in 2018.

In an interview from San Diego, McCready said he plans to promote Baker’s new investment proposal, meet with people considering business development opportunities in Massachusetts and tout the Bay State as a place where companies can meet manufacturing needs as well as research and development.

While McCready said “everyone knows Massachusetts” from a life sciences standpoint, continued public investments are needed to compete with states that are putting taxpayer dollars on the line to attract companies, he said. New York’s $1.1 billion program is a “case in point,” according to McCready.

“That’s just 200 miles to the south of us,” he said.

McCready described a five-year commitment as “properly prudent,” saying the state’s revenue, borrowing and overall picture “is not exactly clear right now.”

Baker also plans to visit Vertex Pharmaceutical’s research and development site in San Diego on Tuesday, followed by evening receptions at the convention, including one hosted by MassBIO. Baker will meet in San Jose on Thursday with executives from Cisco, a multinational information technology corporation that also has a presence in Boston.

Workforce Development At Root Of Baker’s $500M Life Sciences Bid

by State House News Service time to read: 3 min