As job demand grows, Durham Tech launches apprenticeship program with biotech company

As nationwide and worldwide life sciences and biotech companies plan to expand in Durham and create new jobs, the demand for native expertise is rising.

Durham Technical Community College and the N.C. Community College System are teaming up with Durham-based KBI BioPharma to launch a pilot program to coach Triangle residents for careers within the life sciences and biotech industries.

“Durham is responding to the demand for a talent pipeline for the surging life sciences sector,” mentioned Durham Tech president J.B. Buxton in a press convention Tuesday. “Durham is responding to build an equitable and diverse talent pipeline that connects our residents to these great jobs, allowing them to support their families, thrive, building community and prosperity here in Durham and the greater Triangle region.”

The partnership with the KBI BioPharma, a contract manufacturing biopharmaceutical company, goals to develop the state’s expertise pool that current and future firms within the Triangle hope to rent from. The partnership additionally hopes to extend profession entry to staff who might not have faculty levels or have been displaced by the coronavirus pandemic.

The three-year pilot program will give attention to highschool graduates and U.S. navy veterans and provide as much as 6,000 hours of on-the-job coaching in biomanufacturing, upward and downstream manufacturing, upkeep and different areas, along with 928 hours of related programs at Durham Tech.

The apprenticeship has begun to recruit candidates and is slated to launch in July of this yr. Apprentices will probably be paid for his or her coaching and have their tuition lined by KBI.

“This initiative specifically is a great opportunity to bridge the gap and drive a sustainable workforce for the burgeoning sector and being people into our life science communities,” mentioned Dirk Lange, president and CEO of KBI. “We’re making this investment into the future of our company and also making this investment into the future of many young adults.”

Part of the coaching will embody assist from business professionals to mentor apprentices. Although the pilot program will start with simply 4 apprentices, the program hopes to broaden to incorporate 20 or extra apprentices, Lange mentioned.

Apprentices is not going to be below contract to be employed by KBI BioPharma however will enter as eligible candidates for positions that pay salaries of as much as $45,000 a yr.

Since 2018, the life sciences business has represented round 4,600 new jobs in Durham County and a $1.65 billion funding, in accordance with county officers. In the identical interval, over 8,900 jobs and $6.2 billion in funding have been represented by the business throughout the Triangle.

N.C. Community Colleges President Thomas Stith III mentioned the program is a part of the statewide faculty system’s Apprenticeship NC program that companions with industries to coach staff, and has served over 15,000 college students statewide.

“Apprenticeships help North Carolina stay competitive in a marketplace that is not defined by a region and is no longer defined by our country,” mentioned Stith. “We’re in a global marketplace and apprenticeships serves as a core to help North Carolina be competitive in that global marketplace.”

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