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Workforce Development

“Novartis chose Holly Springs as the location for our new flu cell culture site primarily due to access to a highly qualified workforce. We have been extremely pleased with the abundance of local talent and to date, over 80 percent of our staff has been hired locally.” – Chris McDonald, site head, Novartis Holly Springs

Making an Impact in Workforce Training

Across North Carolina, we make industry-tailored worker training a top priority. We’re proud of our unique and successful climate of partnership between industry and education. We rely on a consortium — NCBioImpact —that brings together key partners to meet the needs of the state’s pharmaceutical and biomanufacturing companies. The effort includes:

The consortium has received more than $70 million from Golden LEAF, a statewide foundation that dispenses funds from a legal settlement with tobacco companies. NCBioImpact has received approximately $13 million through in-kind donations of industry employee time and equipment as well as additional state funds for operating expenses.

Tracking Industry Needs

Since 1995, the Biotechnology Center has monitored education, training, recruiting, and hiring trends in the biotech industry through both formal surveys, focus groups, and ad-hoc discussions. Among the published reports:

Knowing What You Need To Know

Jobs in the life sciences aren’t your average assembly-line work. Making things from biological materials—biomanufacturing—demands specialized training. So one important job of the Biotechnology Center has been to reach out to state, national, and international partners and develop standards that can validate the basic skills people need for working in biomanufacturing. Our in-depth knowledge of the job requirements and career paths lets us help North Carolinians respond to evolving industry needs. While some of this work has not been published, published reports and materials include:

Training New Technicians

When you’re using biology to make a product, you need to know something about science and about manufacturing. To make sure we have a steady supply of workers ready to step into North Carolina’s ever-increasing array of biomanufacturing jobs, Biotechnology Center education and training specialists linked with partners in industry and the North Carolina Community College System, developing an introductory course called BioWork. BioWork and many other Continuing Education offerings are taught in the community colleges to prepare biomanufacturing technicians.

Companies across the state often require new technicians to have BioWork training. And why wouldn’t they? Students who successfully complete the course already know the biomanufacturing industry when they’re hired as entry-level process technicians.