WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao announced a $5 million grant to Forsyth Technical Community College, partnering with four other community colleges around the nation, to develop curricula and training models for biotechnology workers. The grant, announced at Piedmont Triad Research Park in Winston-Salem, is part of a $17.2 million national effort developed under the President’s High Growth Job Training Initiative to address workforce challenges facing the biotech industry.
The Labor Department grant will enable each of the five partner community colleges, considered biotechnology “centers of excellence,” to focus on a specific area of biotech training. With their diverse locations, the collegiate partners will bring distinctive contributions to five major regions of the country. Together, the educational partners will make in-kind contributions totaling nearly $7.5 million.
“President Bush and I are committed to helping workers get the training they need to develop careers in growing fields like biotechnology,” said Chao. “This $5 million grant to five premier community colleges will establish a National Center for the Biotechnology Workforce. Through this center, training components will be developed for all major segments of the high-growth biotech sector.”
Forsyth Community College will focus on biotech research and development in the Southeast; New Hampshire Technical College will concentrate on biomanufacturing in the Northeast; Indian Hills Community College in Iowa will emphasize agriculture and food processing in the Midwest; Bellevue Community College in Washington State will provide training in bioinformatics in the Northwest, and Miracosta Community College in San Diego will highlight bioprocessing in the Southwest.
“Each of the community colleges participating in this grant has demonstrated expertise in a specific biotechnology skill area,” said Emily Stover DeRocco, assistant secretary of labor for employment and training. “The partnership between these institutions is designed to produce a national model for developing a skilled workforce in response to identified biotech industry needs.”
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