Alamance Community College hosted a meeting of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center advisory committee on June 8, bringing together industry and academic leaders from across the Piedmont to develop the region’s life science assets.
Biotechnology contributes $59 billion in activity annually and 237,000 jobs to North Carolina’s economy. The N.C. Biotechnology Center delivers a range of technology-based economic development programs to spur innovation, education, commercialization and job creation.
The meeting included updates tied to ACC’s Biotechnology Center of Excellence by Alamance Community College leaders Yonnie Butler (Director of the Center of Excellence), Michelle Sabaoun (Biotechnology Dept. Head), and Dr. Liz Riley (Horticulture Technology Dept. Head). The Center is a regional hub focused on industry supported and technology-based workforce development. The College is ideally situated between the Triad and Triangle, the busiest biotech/life science corridor on the East Coast.
College President Dr. Algie Gatewood explained how the College’s $39.6 million bond referendum request is linked to the region’s biotechnology development efforts.
Additional speakers included leaders in the biotechnology industry who provided updates and presentations, including Robin Deacle, Vice President of Corporate Communications with the NC Biotechnology Center; and Scott Johnson, Vice President of AgBiotech with the NC Biotechnology Center.
Biotechnology is a wide-ranging field that can embrace stem cell and regenerative medicine, pharmacology, histotechnology, cytotechnology, nanotechnology, microbiology, herbology, biomanufacturing and food crop science. Biotechnology is the use of living organisms to perform specific industrial and manufacturing processes.
According to the NC Biotechnology Center: “Continued growth in North Carolina’s bio-manufacturing industry will require new employees with complex training and technical skills tailored to these regulated positions. Close to 2,500 new employees will be needed each year in biopharmaceutical manufacturing industries, while fewer than 200 – 300 workers are currently trained annually.”
In a June 2016 report, the N.C. Biotechnology Center noted that Burlington is the #1 small Metropolitan Statistical Area in research, testing and medical labs.
Alamance Community College has the longest running 2-year Biotechnology program in the United States. ACC’s cell culture program is second to none in content, equipment and facilities. The College has the most complete biomanufacturing suite of any North Carolina community college.