Johnston Community College Gets First Training Grant from NSF
A significant new arrow has just been added to the quiver of North Carolina’s biomanufacturing global leadership arsenal.
Johnston Community College (JCC) has been awarded a $283,880 federal grant to train technicians for jobs at major biomanufacturing plants in the area.
The grant will support a three-year project that will blend applied engineering and biotechnology curricula, create a multi-skilled talent pipeline from college to industry, and provide hands-on education in a recently constructed simulated drug manufacturing environment at the Johnston County Workforce Development Center in Clayton.
At the conclusion of the project in June 2022, 15 technicians will be trained and available for hire. And that conclusion is just the beginning of an ongoing training initiative.
The project will involve industry partners Grifols and Novo Nordisk, which have major biomanufacturing plants in Clayton.
Grifols is investing $210 million in two new facilities there to help meet the growing demand for medicines derived from human blood plasma, and Novo Nordisk is investing more than $2 billion in its production facilities for diabetes and obesity medicines.
The companies will need more skilled workers, and this training project will provide them.
“With strong industry support from our partners at Grifols and Novo Nordisk, this project will provide a one-of-a-kind learning environment where drug production is simulated using DeltaV industry software to control equipment,” said David Johnson, president of JCC. “By practicing in this environment, students will gain better mechanical and aseptic technique skills.”
Leslie Isenhour, JCC’s department chair of biotechnology programs, will serve as the principal investigator, and Brian Worley, JCC’s department chair of advanced technologies programs, will serve as co-principal investigator of the grant.
It’s the latest in a series of workforce training programs in North Carolina designed to meet global needs for the highly specialized biomanufacturing marketplace.