DURHAM – Durham Technical Community College and KBI Biopharma are launching an internship program designed to provide a “diverse talent pipeline” for biotech companies and to provide more “access to underutilized labor pools.”

The program announced Tuesday targets graduating high school seniors and military veterans. It will kick off this summer as part of the North Carolina Community College System ApprenticeshipNC program.

Durham Tech President J.B. Buxton joined North Carolina Community College System President Thomas Stith III and KBI BioPharma President and CEO Dirk Lange announced the effort.

“The apprenticeship program aims to close the skill gap in the life sciences industry by offering on-the-job training at KBI Biopharma and related instruction at Durham Tech,” the executives explained.

“Durham Tech is committed to creating a diverse talent pipeline that puts local residents in good paying careers in the life sciences sector. We’re proud to partner with KBI BioPharma in this effort and believe this is a model for public-private partnerships,” Buxton noted.

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KBI is a biopharmaceutical contract development manufacturing organization (CDMO) that provides accelerated drug development and biomanufacturing services to help pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies globally advance their vaccine and therapeutic programs, the company noted.

Four apprenticeships will be offered initially.

Apprentices who complete the program will earn an Associate of Science degree from Durham Tech and credentials from the US Department of Labor, the college said.

“I am excited to work with Durham Tech on this program, which addresses a fundamental challenge for our industry: building a sustainable pipeline for our future workforce, while creating the opportunity to kickstart the career of young talent,” said Lange. “At KBI, we see education as a way to enable possibilities and progress through on-the-job learning. We’re proud to partner with Durham Tech, and look forward to the opportunity to grow lifelong careers in this area and develop and retain highly talented team members for KBI Biopharma.”

Durham Tech is also part of the BULLS Initiative, a public-private consortium aimed at filling the growing needs for the local biotech industry, and positioning Durham as a leader in life sciences.