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 – North Carolina community colleges across the state are preparing their students for well-paying jobs in the growing biopharmaceutical industry through public/private partnerships with biotech companies in their communities.

The latest announcement comes from Wake Tech Community College, which recently launched a campaign, Building Tomorrow’s Talent, as it seeks industry partners to support the new biotech building on its RTP campus.

“Partnerships with local business and industry are extremely vital to the success of Wake Tech programs,” said Roxanne Miller, the Wake Tech Foundation’s director of development in a statement. “This is a great opportunity for IT and biotech companies to get in on the ground floor of an exciting new facility and play a key role in the development of their talent pipeline.”

Some of the funds raised through the Building Tomorrow’s Talent campaign will increase access to education for students underrepresented in IT and biotechnology. The funds will also provide faculty training, programs development and equipment and technology upgrades.

Partners will be invited to a special ribbon-cutting celebration for the new state-of-the art building, planned for spring of 2022.

Hands-on experience is a critical part of training programs

Wake Tech is just one of the state’s community colleges expanding its footprint to provide students hands-on training and certifications to prepare them for a career in biomanufacturing.

Recently, Lee County purchased the Marelli manufacturing site in Sanford as part of its efforts to support Central Carolina Community College’s workforce development efforts.

When the county made the purchase, Lisa Smelser, lead instructor for biotechnology programs at CCCC underscored the importance the college plays in training students for job opportunities.

“New industry announcements are happening regularly in the CCCC service area and more frequently in the greater Triangle region,” she said at the time of the announcement. “It’s the role of CCCC to make sure our community has access to training that qualifies people for a high-paying career in biomanufacturing.”

In Clayton, Johnston Community College provides its students hands-on experience in a simulated drug manufacturing environment at the Johnston County Workforce Development Center, which also supports the college’s Bio Blend project.

JCC launched Bio Blend with industry partners Grifols and Novo Nordisk after being awarded a $283,880 National Science Foundation Advanced Technologies Education grant to train technicians in both biotechnology and applied engineering. The three-year project combines applied engineering and biotechnology curricula to create a multi-skilled talent pipeline from college to industry.

Are you interested in a career in biotechnology? Check out the North Carolina Biotechnology Center’s Bio Jobs Hub here.

(C) N.C. Biotech Center