DURHAM – Novo Nordisk has gifted $6 million to Durham Technical Community College in an effort to boost the institution’s life sciences program.
It’s the largest donation in the institution’s history, and it will help Durham Tech construct and operate a new 35,000 square foot facility to be known as the Life Sciences Training Center, funding for which was approved by voters in November.
“Today’s announcement is about a company’s investment in the people of this region. It’s not just big news for Durham Tech and the high-quality education and training it will enable us to provide, it’s life-changing news for the thousands of local residents who will benefit and go on to great jobs in a growing and important industry,” said J. B. Buxton, president of Durham Tech in a statement following the news conference on Wednesday morning, when the gift was announced. “This marks the largest donation in our college’s history, and we are proud to partner with Novo Nordisk and their commitment to creating economic opportunity for the people of Durham and our greater Triangle region.”
In September, the company announced an expansion in Johnston County, where it maintains a manufacturing campus in Clayton. The company continues to seek talented workers to fill about 200 roles, according to the latest WRAL TechWire Jobs Report, which tracks career openings at the firm and 49 other Triangle area employers.
Novo Nordisk already employs about 1,800 workers in the Triangle. Still, the company said in a statement that “ensuring a strong, resilient workforce for the future is a top priority.”
That’s coming as the firm plans to continue to expand its biomanufacturing operations.
“Novo Nordisk is committed to ensuring that both individuals planning their future careers and those seeking a transition understand and have access to the promise that a career in life sciences can bring,” said Shaylah Nunn Jones, Novo Nordisk’s government and public affairs lead. “Through this partnership with Durham Tech, we will provide apprenticeships, internships, scholarship programs, and the latest biotech equipment to train the future workforce, and that is exciting. We are proud of our region’s dynamic biotech industry and are thrilled to help expand and diversify our talent pipeline.”
According to the statement from the company, the gift it is making to Durham Tech will:
- Establish a Biotechnology Associate of Applied Science degree program (for current college students).
- Create onsite training for biotechnology career transition programs to upskill/reskill existing employees and other related workforce training partnerships.
- Ensure students are prepared on biotechnology equipment.
- Provide outreach and awareness for area middle and high school students.
The company will also send a full-time employee to Durham Tech to serve in the professor-in-residence program. And, the firm said it would offer apprenticeships, internships and scholarship programs as well as buy biotech training equipment for the new facility, which is expected to be completed in 2026.
“Partnerships between community colleges and thriving businesses in North Carolina are the heart of growth for our state,” said Bill Carver, Interim President of the North Carolina Community College System. “This is a great day for Durham and Durham Technical Community College as we once again see the power of investing in community college-led talent pipelines that bring diverse employees to a booming economy.”
In November, Durham County residents voted in in favor of a $112.7 million bond referendum for Durham Tech that included the construction of the Life Sciences Training Center facility.
“This investment by Novo Nordisk, along with the support of the 2022 bond referendum by Durham County voters, will allow Durham Tech to deepen our commitment to the life sciences sector, expand our degree programs and short-term workforce training, and build a skilled, diverse talent pipeline for the region,” said Buxton.