01/06/05 — Wayne Community College getting Biotech funds

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Wayne Community College getting Biotech funds

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Published in News on January 6, 2005 2:00 PM

Wayne Community College is preparing to expand its program to train workers in the growing biotechnology industry.

The college has received a boost in this effort with a $43,000 grant for equipment and supplies.

The college is also working on a program with Pitt Community College. Students will be able to take the core courses for an associate's degree in biotechnology at Wayne and then take the eight upper-level courses at Pitt.

The college's biotechnology program prepares students to work in various fields of biological and chemical technology in positions such as research assistant, laboratory technician, instrumentation technician, and quality control and assurance technician.

According to a survey by the N.C. Biotechnology Center, the state's biotech industry is growing by 2,000 jobs a year, and those jobs require community college-level training.

The $43,000 grant is one of several that will go toward the N.C. Community College System's biotechnology training initiative, called BioNetwork.

The grants, totaling $1,136,242, will allow community colleges across the state to develop courses and purchase equipment to provide hands-on training for the growing biomanufacturing industry. An example of a biomanufacturer is a biodiesel plant scheduled to come to Mount Olive.

The grant is part of the $8.7 million set aside by Golden LEAF Foundation in 2003 to establish the BioNetwork. Grants were approved by both the State Board of Community Colleges and the Golden LEAF Board of Directors.

Wayne Community College will use the money to upgrade and add laboratory equipment. The new equipment, including a DNA transilluminator/camera system, microcentrifuge, water purification system, analytical balance and drying oven, will be used in biology labs. It should be in place by May.