Editor’s note: Each Wednesday, WRAL TechWire features a story highlighting the NC Bio Jobs Hub initiative. Go to the Bio Jobs Hub for more stories and info on life sciences job opportunities made possible by NC’s workforce training initiatives.


RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Over the past several months, I have documented how the BioWork certificate offered at 10 North Carolina community colleges has changed job seekers’ lives. They have included a nursing assistant who wanted to change careers after 20 years in the same industry to a romance-languages major who is seeking a way to use a career in biomanufacturing to launch his return to Asia.

As I interviewed people who have completed the BioWork certification, and their instructors, I have learned a few things. If you have been thinking about making a career change, read on.

Mindy Hamlin (Photo via NC Biotech Center)

  1. North Carolina’s community colleges rock.Recognizing the state’s changing economy, North Carolina’s community colleges offer certifications and degrees that qualify students for positions in biomanufacturing, quality control and good manufacturing practices, among others. The BioWork certificate is a requirement for many entry-level positions at leading biopharmaceutical companies across the state.In addition to the BioWork certification, Johnston Community College (JCC) launched theBio Blend project with industry partners Grifols and Novo Nordisk. The three-year project combines applied engineering and biotechnology curricula to create a multi-skilled talent pipeline from college to industry. Students also gain hands-on experience in a simulated drug manufacturing environment at the Johnston County Workforce Development Center in Clayton.
  2. Telling your story is almost as important as earning the certification. At JCC, students in the BioWork certificate program learn important skills needed to work in biomanufacturing, but they also learn how to nail their interviews. Career Development Instructor Roxanne Curry works with BioWork certificate students to ensure they are prepared for their job interviews. This starts with creating a biomanufacturing-centered resume.

“The industry has a specific layout they are looking for in a resume,” said Curry. “We are gearing students’ resumes directly to industry. In the end they have their professional resume ready to go and can use it at JCC job fairs and for the rest of their career.”

“I learned about techniques I would not have discovered if it were not for Ms. Curry’s class, and because of those techniques, my voice and style are refined,” said Neelan Satsangi, who completed the BioWork certification in December 2020. Learning how to write a better resume and practicing interview skills opened my eyes to see grammar, style, clarity, and vocabulary in a functional and impressive way.”

  1. The BioWork certification is only the beginning. For many students I interviewed, the BioWork certification piqued their interest in the biopharmaceutical industry, and they are now pursuing degrees that will advance their new careers.

For Romance languages and literature major Jonathan Maynard, the BioWork certificate has created a new career path. After earning the certification, he decided to enroll in JCC’s Advanced Biomanufacturing certificate program. However, this will not be the end of his journey in the industry.

“I have seen some degrees advertised online that could combine biotechnology and business,” Maynard said. “Such a path is particularly interesting to me, since I would, in the long-term, like to return to South Korea or Japan, this time working in the biotechnology and biomanufacturing industry.”

Are you interested in making a career change? Learn more about a career in the biopharmaceutical industry at the Bio Jobs Hub website here.

(C) N.C. Biotech Center