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 – During the pandemic, Frankie Spinks lost her job at a life sciences solutions company.

Out of work, she did not know what her next step would be. It was through her sister’s involvement on a local task force that she learned about the BioWork certificate program at Central Carolina Community College (CCCC).

“My sister was working with the Sanford Equity Task Force on a wages & income subcommittee,” explained Spinks.  “Felicia Crittendon, who is employed with CCCC, was on the task force as well. She was discussing how there was low enrollment in BioWork and workforce development programs among minorities. She also said there were scholarships for these programs. My sister, who knew I had been out of work since the COVID shutdown, connected me with CCCC.”

Spinks soon signed up for the course, which covers topics ranging from pharmaceutical quality and current good manufacturing practices to equipment materials and biomanufacturing production. Throughout the eight-unit program, students also learn about the biotechnology industry and the process technician’s job responsibilities. Today, Spinks is a Bioprocess Technician III at Pfizer’s plant in Sanford.

“Everything I was taught in the program is exactly what I do every day,” said Spinks. “So, there was an easy transition into the workforce.”

For Spinks, one lesson that stood out to her was the importance of consistency.

“There is a process and an order to things,” she explained. “There are no shortcuts. Protocol has to be followed.”

Part of the BioWork program, which is offered at 10 North Carolina community colleges, is the job search. Classes include instruction on resume building, the job search and interview skills. For Spinks, these lessons were critical to landing and getting her job at Pfizer.

“CCCC offered a resume building class and a career readiness class,” she said. “It prepared me for the virtual world of interviewing.”

With the BioWork certificate in hand and a position in biomanufacturing, Spink has set her sights on earning a B.S. in a biotechnology-related field at North Carolina State or North Carolina Central University.

For those who are thinking about making a career change or entering the biomanufacturing field, Spinks has some advice.

“Give it a try,” she said. “It is well worth the process. The program at CCCC is short but gives a wealth of applicable information that you can build upon to further your education. It also takes you out of low-wage manufacturing and helps you start a career.”

Learn more about how you might be able to benefit from the BioWork certificate program.

(C) N.C. Biotech Center