MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- The FDA on Monday approved Exact Sciences' main product, an at-home colorectal cancer screening test, for use for people in their forties. It was previously approved only for ages 50 and up.
This marks the latest step in the cancer research company's rapid expansion, and as a result, the company is creating hundreds of new jobs.
"Right now we have over 500 open jobs," said Exact Sciences spokesperson Scott Larrivee. "We have jobs for everyone with a high school degree all the way up to a PhD."
With the company's new lab facility on Madison's west side, it is looking to fill those jobs locally.
"I think there are lots of people within the community that would qualify for these jobs but maybe don't think about us because we have the name 'sciences' in our name," Larrivee said.
To let people know about the new job opportunities and to find candidates, Exact Sciences started partnering with community groups like the Urban League of Greater Madison.
"Exact Sciences is helping folks from all walks of life have an experience in the biotech industry," said Ruben Anthony, president and CEO of the Urban League.
Together, the two groups set up a six-week job training program, helping people with resumes, interviews and more specific industry skills.
"It's all been built to make sure that when you come into work here on day one, you're well-prepared," Larrivee said.
Over 30 people have already gone through the program, and a new class of 25 is in the program as of late September. Many who graduated from the program were hired at Exact Sciences shortly after.
"In our last class with Exact Sciences, they hired 100 percent," Anthony said.
Anthony also said that by hiring from the Madison and Dane County community, Exact Sciences is promoting diversity and inclusion in their staff.
"Having a company that is representative of the community and people can come to work and see other people that they work with that look like them, it makes a big difference in the world," he said.
For Exact Sciences, having those local employees helps both the company and their customers.
"We really pride, take pride in that fact that everything here is local and that you're getting a personalized touch," Larrivee said.
Exact Sciences is also setting up a partnership with Madison College to recruit students and give company staff the chance to retrain or learn new skills.