Golden Leaf Board announced grants
By Sam Atkins
Published in News on June 4, 2004 2:02 PM
North Carolina's growing biotechnology industry was given another boost Thursday after the Golden LEAF Foundation approved $4.3 million worth of grants to help train workers through the state's community colleges.
The Golden LEAF's board of directors held its meeting at Goldsboro Milling Co. and approved 29 grants for the state's community colleges in the BioNetwork. The money is a portion of the $8.7 million that Golden LEAF has already committed, according to Susan Seymour, BioNetwork director with the N.C. Community College System.
The foundation, which is funded by a portion of the state's settlement with tobacco companies, committed up to $60 million in August 2003 to launch a program to train North Carolinians for the biotechnology industry, and part of that money was to start BioNetwork, which links 15 community colleges teaching biotech curricula across the state.
The state has the third largest biotech industry in the United States and it has close to 5,000 people working directly in bio-manufacturing.
Golden LEAF approved grants to establish six centers, which are as follows:
*$320,000 to Pitt Community College for a bio-processing skills center to develop and promote programs and services supporting bio-process manufacturing.
*$320,000 for a collaboration of Forsyth Technical Community College and Guilford Technical Community College for a general pharmaceutical manufacturing skills center.
*$320,000 to Robeson Community College for an agricultural biotechnology skills center.
*$320,000 for a continuing education and short course development center at Gaston College.
*$320,000 for a BioNetwork competitiveness center at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College.
*$1,115, 817 for the BioNetwork Central Learning Center Consortium, which is made up of seven community colleges in the Research Triangle Region to support college training and education at a facility planned at N.C. State University.
All of these centers will develop expertise, curricula and specialized training within their field of responsibility and then share it statewide with the community college system.
"Having a pool of trained workers for this industry is one of the critical elements considered when deciding where to locate a bio-manufacturing facility," said Ms. Seymour.
Golden LEAF also approved $339,288 for 10 biotechnology innovation funds. These grants will be used for updating or creating new curricula, faculty development, student recruitment and retention, and initiatives to expand outreach and access to rural areas. They are as follows:
*$50,747 to Alamance Community College.
*$13,365 to Cape Fear Community College for the development of an on-line marine biology course.
*$38,131 to Central Carolina Community College for the development of specialized courses in bio-processing systems for the Industrial Systems Technology Curriculum.
*$60,000 to Davidson County Community College to enhance BioWork course for hybrid distance learning format.
*$47,093 to Guilford Technical Community College for the development of manufacturing training courses.
*$13,720 to Lenoir Community College for the establishment of a biotechnology training program for middle school and high school science teachers and students.
*$5,000 to Richmond Community College for aquaculture technologies.
*$45,000 to Southeastern Community College for the development of Agriculture Biotechnology Curriculum.
*$23,000 to Vance-Granville Community College for bio-manufacturing course development.
*$43,232 to Wake Technical Community College for the creation of a new applied science degree in Packaging Engineering Technology.
Golden LEAF also approved $1,271,024 for 13 biotechnology equipment and facility enhancement grants. These funds will be used to purchase new or used equipment, laboratory supplies, upgrade outdated equipment, improve facilities and prepare community college space for newly acquired equipment needed for hands-on training. The grants are as follows:
*$14,342 to Cape Fear Community College for equipment for gel electrophoresis.
*$84,200 to Central Carolina Community College for equipment to teach downstream processing.
*$133,092 to Haywood Community College for equipment to enhance training in forest technology and horticulture.
*$138,950 to Johnston Community College for equipment for chemistry laboratory.
*$83,479 to Lenoir Community College for equipment to enhance science curriculum.
*$75,000 to McDowell Technical Community College for laboratory equipment for laboratory utilities.
*$74,000 to Nash Community College for equipment required to enhance biology program.
*$56,000 to Piedmont Community College for biotechnology equipment enhancement.
*$185,950 to Robeson Community College for agricultural biotechnology.
*$163,811 to Sampson Community College for equipment to enhance BioAgricultural training.
*$110,000 to Surry Community College for equipment for agricultural programs such as viticulture.
*$56,700 to Vance-Granville Community College for equipment for fermentation technology training.
*$95,500 to Wilson Technical Community College to increase laboratory space.
"The Golden LEAF support for BioNetwork has been critical to the development of a comprehensive program to train and retrain the workforce of North Carolina for it's biotech future," said Martin Lancaster, system president. "The approval of the grants is an important step forward in the ongoing stimulus and support of the state's transition to 21st century industrial development."
Each of the grant winners will need to submit additional detailed documentation outlining management plans, activity evaluations, timelines, and other related matters specific to the projects to the BioNetwork Central Office for approval. The office will work with Golden LEAF about the initiatives across the state. This process will begin in the next two weeks, according to a release from the community college system.
The board also considered a grant application for $3 million for a project entitled "Saving North Carolina's Film Industry." The application was from the N.C. Film Council and the board said it recognized the importance of the film industry and would continue to evaluate the application.
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