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 – For biomanufacturing companies in the Research Triangle Park area, one partnership is critical to meeting the industry’s ever-growing employment and training needs.

At Durham Technical Community College, the biotechnology department works closely with companies to understand their business needs and ensure students are prepared to meet job requirements.

“Many companies have the job description and qualifications needed to perform the job,” said Ingrid Charles, Durham Tech’s director and instructor of BioWork/BioPharma. “Durham Tech will review the job descriptions and discuss the current certifications offered at the school and decide which certification is best suited for the position.”

The school then provides opportunities for companies to meet students who have received the necessary training.

Durham Tech has created a platform that bridges the gap between employers and students by hosting meet-and-greets, mock and virtual industry interviews, and completion of the employability section, said Charles.

Durham Tech’s corporate partners include some of the RTP area’s largest life sciences companies, including Eli Lilly, Merck, Alcami, KBI BioPharma, Novo Nordisk, Corning, Pfizer and bioMérieux.

Last spring, the college announced an apprenticeship program with RTP-based KBI BioPharma. The program offers apprenticeships to graduating high school seniors and military veterans to bolster a diverse talent pipeline in the biotechnology field and increase access to underutilized labor pools. The initiative, which began last summer, is a part of the North Carolina Community College System ApprenticeshipNC program.

The college is also anticipating the growing needs of the 50+ life sciences companies in Durham. In August, it announced it had received $300,000 in local and federal grants to fund the purchase of equipment for aseptic processing training, which is vital in preventing contamination while manufacturing sterile products.

“This training reflects our commitment to expand our biotechnology programming and training opportunities to meet the demands of a surging industry in our region,” said Durham Tech President J.B. Buxton. “Aseptic training is one part of our plan to create a pipeline to great jobs in a growing sector. We want to be the go-to institution for diverse talent for life sciences employers.”

Durham Tech’s partnership with KBI and its aseptic training program illustrate the important role community colleges play in creating a talent pipeline for industry, said Thomas Stith, president of the N.C. Community College System.

It also illustrates how community colleges can create customized programs that benefit community college students and companies. At Durham Tech, the biotechnology department offers customized trainings for companies. These trainings often combine parts of the BioWork program with additional curricula the companies define.

“Our world-class customized training is a key factor in attracting and growing business and industry in North Carolina,” said Stith. “‘The Great 58’ community colleges are leading economic recovery efforts for North Carolina, making it a greater global competitor for business and industry.”

Over the last four years, North Carolina’s community colleges have provided nearly 3,000 customized trainings for 34 companies and 14 colleges. These trainings range from good documentation practices and elements of supplier and internal audits to a cGMP overview for pharmaceuticals and biomanufacturing bootcamps.

For more information on how you can gain training and certifications for a great career in biomanufacturing, visit Bio Jobs Hub.

(C) N.C. Biotech Center