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Months After Layoffs, Jackson Lab Adds Jobs

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Seven months after laying off 55 employees and reducing the hours of 315 hourly workers in a cost-cutting move, The Jackson Laboratory is back in hiring mode, with plans to create 50 new jobs, following surges in mouse sales and federal research grants.

The new jobs will not be any of the positions eliminated in March, when the genetics research institute laid off the 55 staffers, who held a variety of administrative, operations, and support jobs.

"Those particular jobs are not returning, though the employees whose jobs were eliminated are eligible to apply for new jobs as they are created here," Joyce Peterson, a spokeswoman for The Jackson Lab, told GenomeWeb Daily News.

The process of hiring, she added, "averages four to six weeks, including advertising, screening, interviewing, employment reference checks, background checks, etc. But of course this can vary tremendously since many laboratory positions require highly specialized training or education."

Peterson could not confirm comments by Chuck Hewett, the lab's vice president and chief operating officer, to the Mount Deseret Islander, a Maine-based publication, that the decision to create 50 new jobs resulted in part from an uptick in sales of mice to other research facilities. Two months earlier, Hewett told the Bangor Daily News, that revenue from reproductive services tied to its breeding of mice for other labs worldwide had risen 7 percent year-over-year since June.

As a result, Jackson Lab was able to restore the full hours of all its hourly workers in August, Peterson said.

The March cutbacks did not affect research operations or the people carrying them out, since those are funded through grants rather than the Jackson Lab's $168.9 million operating budget. The $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the federal stimulus measure signed in February by President Obama, allowed Jackson Lab to create 17 new positions to date, Peterson said.

ARRA funding is limited to research jobs and cannot be used for operations positions.

"We expect to add or retain grant-related positions as additional federal research funding arrives," Peterson said. "We have been growing our faculty and adding grant-funded positions as new grants are awarded to members of The Jackson Laboratory's faculty."

Jackson Lab now bases some 1,300 staffers at its 160-acre Bar Harbor campus, which adjoins Acadia National Park, and about another 90 people at its 85,000-square-foot Jackson Laboratory-West facility in Sacramento, Calif.

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