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Bioprocessing program to grow with grant approvals

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RALEIGH - The bioprocess technology program at Central Carolina Community College (CCCC) will be able to reach more people in the future because of a pair of grants totaling $77,586.

Golden LEAF, a non-profit corporation, approved two grants for CCCC; one for facility enhancement, and the other for innovation. The CCCC proposal was presented as a part of many grants the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) BioNetwork program had up for approval.

A $33,750 equipment grant will allow CCCC, a BioNetwork college, to support a partnership for high school bioprocess education.

" We're very excited to be in partnership with Harnett County Public Schools and the Harnett County Economic Development Commission on this project that will provide bioprocess education for high school juniors and seniors," CCCC engineering technologies chair Steve Lympany said. "Not only will these students have an opportunity to explore careers in the growing bioprocessing industry, but, with the equipment this grant will provide, they will be able to learn about bioprocessing in a hands-on laboratory setting."

The $43,836 biotechnology innovation grant will enable CCCC to offer quality assurance courses via distance education for bioprocess/biotech curriculum.

" This will greatly benefit individuals currently employed in the industry since they can take the course following their own schedule due to the distance format," said Preston Sellers, CCCC dean of engineering, industrial and health programs.

This is the third round of grant money the bioprocessing technology program at CCCC has received from Golden LEAF in the past year. The program received an $84,000 grant in June for purchasing downstream processing equipment. In December, it received a $124,000 grant for upstream processing equipment. Totaling the grants from all three rounds, CCCC has received $201,586 in funding from Golden LEAF.

CCCC is improving its program to meet industry needs. According to an NC Biotechnology Center study, the biotech industry is growing by an estimated 3,000 jobs annually, of which 2,000 require education and training at the community college level. The biopharmaceutical industry does not hire people without the specialized training needed to work in an FDA-regulated biomanufacturing or pharmaceutical facility. Community Colleges like CCCC need to provide hands-on training for the biomanufacturing and pharmaceutical industries.

" We are extremely proud to be able to play such a pivotal role in providing training for the biotech industry," NCCCS President H. Martin Lancaster said in a released statement. "These grants give us the opportunity to extend opportunities to almost every corner of North Carolina, particularly in areas where retraining for 21st Century industries is especially needed."

Golden LEAF provided $8.7 million in startup funding for the NCCCS and its BioNetwork program as part of an overall grant to the Biomanufacturing & Pharmaceutical Training Consortium.

For more information on the bioprocess technology program at CCCC visit the website at

For more information about NCCCS BioNetwork, visit