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CCCC receives two BioNetwork grants

10.11.2007Uncategorized

CCCC receives two BioNetwork grants

PITTSBOROrn— Central Carolina Community College’s biofuels education programs willrnmove forward in a big way, thanks to two BioNetwork Fund grantsrnrecently awarded to it by the North Carolina State Board of CommunityrnColleges.

A $44,180 Phase II BiofuelsrnCurriculum Development Grant will fund the creation of courses andrnworkshops on biofuels production and utilization. The courses will berncustomized to address specific audiences, such as workers already inrnthe biofuels industry, farmers growing crops to be made into biofuels,rnand entrepreneurs who want to start biofuels businesses.

Theserncourses will be offered through the college’s Small Business Center inrnChatham County. Biofuels courses for the general public will continuernto be offered through the college’s Continuing Education Department.

Thernnew $96,737 Biofuels Equipment Funding Grant will pay for equipment andrnsupplies to expand fuel-testing capabilities in the biofuels analyticsrnlaboratory at the Chatham Campus.

ThernState Board of Community Colleges voted to award the grants at itsrnSeptember meeting. CCCC’s biofuels programs will serve as prototypesrnand provide educational resources to other community colleges that wantrnto offer a biofuels program.

The newrngrants enable the college to build on the groundwork established inrnbiofuels education by a previous BioNetwork grant. In 2006, the collegernreceived a $58,190 Phase I grant to research the work skills needed inrnthe state’s growing biofuels industry and to develop a curriculum for arntwo-year Alternative Energy Technology: Biofuels associate degree. Therndegree program, the first at a North Carolina community college, willrnbe offered at CCCC’s Chatham County Campus starting in fall 2008.

Biofuels,rnthe making of fuels out of plant and animal products, is a growingrnindustry nationwide. They can be produced locally, cutting down on therndependence on foreign oil, decreasing air pollution, and keeping fuelrnprofits in local economies.

CCCC hasrnbeen offering biofuels education courses through its ContinuingrnEducation Department since 2002. In 2005, a $50,000 allocation from thernGeneral Assembly paid for equipment to start a basic biofuelsrnanalytical testing laboratory at the Chatham Campus.

CCCC’srnwork in biofuels industry workforce development fits into “NorthrnCarolina’s Strategic Plan for Biofuels Leadership,” a roadmap developedrnfor the state’s expansion in biofuels production and use. The plan grewrnout of the “State Energy Use/Energy Assistance” act, passed by thernGeneral Assembly in 2006.

The act was inrnresponse to the state’s dependence on imported petroleum fuel — 5.6rnbillion gallons last year. It calls for in-state production of biofuelsrnto replace at least 10 percent of its petroleum-based fuel importsrnwithin 10 years, stating, “North Carolina’s goal … is to develop arnliquid biofuels industry that is substantial in output, agriculturallyrnand economically important, sustainable, and significant across thernstate.”

That can only be achieved by arnmajor joint effort in research and development on biofuels sources,rndistribution and uses, growth in manufacturers — and training a skilledrnworkforce. That’s where CCCC and the grants for developing programs fitrnin.

“We’re setting the industry standardrnfor biofuels workforce development in North Carolina,” said KarenrnAllen, Chatham Campus provost.