The is taking over funding of the

The BioNetwork will provide $200,000 to support the center’s director, staff of fewer than five people, and other expenses such as travel, said BioNetwork Director Matthew Meyer.

“This is a great addition for us,” Meyer said in an interview.

The center, which is located at Forsyth Technology Community Center in Winston-Salem, was launched in 2004. It had been funded by a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Funded ended in September.

The BioNetwork has established several centers across the state and works with community colleges in workforce training for biotechnology and life science firms. It recently opened a major center at North Carolina State University’s Centennial Campus.

Russ Reed, executive director of the Winston-Salem center, will be especially helpful in efforts by the BioNetwork to raise funding, Meyer said.

“In an era of tight budgets, we have got to get federal funds and innovative funding streams such as foundation money,” Meyer said. Reed also will help the BioNetwork study and apply “best practices” in biotech worker training elsewhere for use in North Carolina, he added.

The BioNetwork will fund the center through its existing N.C. state appropriation, Meyer said. The network’s budget for the current fiscal year is $6.5 million, down from $7.1 million from a year earlier, he added.

Statewide, community colleges have more than 2,000 students enrolled in biotech worker training and two-year degree programs. The BioNetwork launched in 2004 with a goal of providing 2,000 trained workers a year.

“Our Center is eager to take on its new mandate to work with national organizations seeking educational and training partnerships for BioNetwork,” Reed said in a statement.

The Center worked with four other community colleges across the country to develop curriculum and training models for biotech worker training.