College News

Chatham students to benefit from grant

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RALEIGH - Central Carolina Community College (CCCC) received one of the 35 BioNetwork grants approved by the State Board of Community Colleges Friday, February 17, for specialized biotechnology training.

CCCC received a $32,825 grant for its Partnership for Chatham County High School Bioprocess Education project.

Steve Lympany, CCCC Engineering Technologies chair, said the funds from this grant will enable the college to furnish a Chatham campus laboratory with the equipment necessary to support a unique high school bioprocessing technology program that combines in-class and hands-on methodologies.

The new equipment will be permanently installed in the Biology Lab in the Health and Small Business Building at the CCCC Chatham campus.

CCCC and Chatham County Public Schools have formed a partnership to provide bioprocess education for high school juniors and seniors. High school students will be enrolled at the college through the Huskins program and will simultaneously receive credit toward high school graduation and five college credit hours.

According to the grant proposal, this partnership will introduce bioprocess manufacturing to a population with geographic access to high wage jobs upon graduation.

" The goal of this project is to educate high school students from a rural population in the principles of bioprocessing so that they can get a head start in exploring careers and initiating workforce preparation for the regional bioprocessing industry," Lympany said.

" The laboratory activities will develop student proficiency in many basic lab techniques involving process variable measurements, reading gauges, making chemical solutions, preparing growth media and growing cells - all with an eye toward the necessity of following current good manufacturing practices."

The program is scheduled to begin in the fall semester this year.

Community Colleges across North Carolina received $2.5 million in grants for specialized biotechnology training. The grants will further strengthen North Carolina's ability to provide the specialized education and hands-on training needed by workers to find employment in the highly-regulated biopharmaceutical industry. The funds come from a state appropriation for the North Carolina Community College System BioNetwork.

In a study by the NC Biotechnology Center, it found that this industry creates about 3.000 new jobs a year, of which 2.000 are appropriately trained at the community college level. To meet the need for skilled workers, BioNetwork has been developing the infrastructure at community colleges so that they have the specialized laboratories and equipment needed to provide suitable training for this industry.

CCCC is a BioNetwork college.

NCCCS BioNetwork Marketing director Norman Smit contributed to this report.