UNC Launches 'Our State, Our Work,' Expanding Life Sciences Job Opportunities for Young Adults and N.C. Communities

Chancellor Kevin Guskiewic
Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz. -- UNC photo

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is inviting communities across the state to join its Carolina Across 100 initiative “Our State, Our Work: Connecting Young Adults with their Future.” The program will identify and implement strategies to expand and deepen education and employment pathways across the state with a focus on people 16 through 24 years old.

“So many people across North Carolina are facing disproportionate burdens and challenges because of COVID-19,” said UNC Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz. “Carolina Across 100 will leverage the university’s expertise and research and work with communities in all 100 counties across the state to address those issues.” 

The program comes after the team at Across Carolina 100 surveyed 3,000 representatives from the public, private and nonprofit sectors in the state’s 100 counties. An area of major concern is communities’ ability to ensure workers are prepared for high-quality jobs.

To identify solutions to this problem and to connect to young adults who are disconnected from education and employment opportunities, UNC is inviting 20 communities across the state to apply for participation in the Our State, Our Work initiative.

According to the online application, selected community collaboratives will identify strategies that will become roadmaps for the state’s 100 counties to create an educational and employment pipeline for the state’s young adults.

Initiative underscores need for trained workers in life sciences

The survey report underscores the North Carolina Biotechnology Center’s findings that life sciences companies across the state will need to fill at least 5,000 jobs in biomanufacturing over the next few years. Entry-level positions in biomanufacturing often require only a BioWork Certificate, which can be earned at 10 of the state’s community colleges.

The BioWork certificate program is a 136-hour course that teaches the foundational skills needed to begin a career as a process technician for a biotechnology, pharmaceutical or chemical manufacturing company. 

The BioWork program is just one way the state’s colleges and universities are working with their public and private partners to prepare students for high-quality jobs. Programs also include the North Carolina Community College System’s Longleaf Commitment Grant, a grant program for 2022 North Carolina high school graduates who attend one of the state’s community colleges starting in the Fall 2022 semester.

Learn more here about great jobs in the life sciences.

Mindy Hamlin, NCBiotech Writer
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