Build Back Better Award Fuels North Carolina’s Life Sciences Manufacturing Talent Pipeline

Funding for the Accelerate NC Life Sciences Manufacturing 

In September 2022, NCBiotech and our coalition of partners received a $25 million Phase 2 award from the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge*. This award will further strengthen North Carolina’s robust life sciences manufacturing workforce, ensuring that this sector continues to thrive.

Funding for the Accelerate NC-Life Sciences Manufacturing coalition will increase awareness of, access to, and availability of life sciences manufacturing training across 79 of 100 North Carolina counties. 

Three funded projects are underway to attract and train a more diverse workforce to manufacture vaccines, antibodies and other medicines while enabling greater equity for underserved populations of North Carolinians, including those from distressed and rural communities. 

The Community Engagement project, led by the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, was designed to increase awareness of and access to training and career opportunities in life sciences manufacturing across the state. In particular, the program focuses on reaching residents from historically excluded populations who face academic, financial and other barriers to working in life sciences manufacturing. 

The following four programs make up the Community Engagement project: 

Life Sciences Manufacturing Ambassador Program

Over a two-year period, this program is training 250 ambassadors who will share training and job opportunities with members of their local communities. These 250 Ambassadors will reach 2,500 community members across 79 counties of North Carolina with information about life sciences manufacturing.   

Interior of Innovation Science Bus

NC Life Sciences Apprenticeship Consortium

The North Carolina Life Sciences Apprenticeship Consortium brings together industry members and community college partners to increase access to life sciences manufacturing training and apprenticeships. The program will pay for 220 North Carolinians to take the BioWork certificate program at a local community college. Those who complete the BioWork pre-apprenticeships will qualify for apprenticeships and other career opportunities at leading life sciences manufacturing companies to gain on-the-job training. 

NC Life Sciences Apprenticeship Consortium

Manufacturing Prep Program - NC Grads2Work 

The Manufacturing Prep Program will enable 96 high school seniors in Pitt County North Carolina to complete a free two-day industry-developed pharmaceutical manufacturing training program. Students are also eligible for free tutoring to help them pass the prerequisite National Career Readiness Certificate as needed. 

Students who complete the two-day training at the North Carolina Pharmaceutical Services Network at Pitt Community College are awarded the Pharma Expedited Training Solutions certification and are guaranteed an interview with major life sciences manufacturing employers in the region. 

NCBiotech's Mark Phillips teaching students about pharma manufacturing jobs

Building Up Local Life Sciences

Made in Durham’s Building Up Local Life Sciences (BULLS) initiative is expanding to increase awareness of and access to life sciences manufacturing opportunities for 100+ Durham County residents from underserved populations. Program participants receive a $10,000 life stipend and wraparound support services to enable participation in the BioWork training certificate program at Durham Technical Community College. 

A coalition of 10 community colleges, led by the North Carolina Community College System, is expanding entry-level life sciences manufacturing training, including the BioWork certificate program. Expanded outreach to underserved communities will attract more diverse students to these programs. The BioWork certificate program is a 136-hour course that teaches foundational skills to begin a career as a process technician in life sciences manufacturing.

The HBCU/HAIU coalition, led by North Carolina Central University’s Biomanufacturing Research Institute and Technology Enterprise (BRITE) is establishing six training hubs at North Carolina’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities and at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, the state’s sole Historically American Indian University. The training hubs are delivering hands-on short courses on manufacturing biopharmaceuticals to an inclusive and diverse population, further diversifying North Carolina's workforce.

*  The Build Back Better Regional Challenge is a competitive federal grant program developed by the Economic Development Administration, an agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce. It aims to build strong regional economies and support community-led economic development nationwide. The program strives to share the benefits of the cluster equitably across all affected communities, both urban and rural, including efforts to reach historically excluded populations, racial minorities, and women. Build Back Better Regional Challenge projects seeks to create good-paying jobs, catalyze emerging industries, and prepare a workforce needed to drive economic growth.

The BBBRC logo is a trademark of the U.S. Economic Development Administration.


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