State Board Approves Allocation of More Than $16 million to Support Biotechnology and Life Sciences Industry
The State Board of Community Colleges approved an allocation of $16,422,220 to 10 colleges and the North Carolina Community College System to meet the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge grant award to the System. The grant will support the bioscience industry sector, which continues to flourish as part of North Carolina economy. Since 2020, 73 life sciences companies have announced plans to either locate or expand their operations in North Carolina, creating nearly 11,200 new jobs and more than $8.39 billion in investment (NC Biotechnology Center Data). To keep up with this robust industry growth and to help sustain the growth, NC Community Colleges and BioNetwork will use the grant funds to enhance and update biotechnology and life sciences industry training facilities, recruit industry trainers, recruit students from excluded populations, and to update and enhance curriculum. Ten community colleges will receive funding based on the existing and expanding biotechnology and life sciences industry in their service areas.*
Apprenticeship Expansion: The State Board approved $4 million from the Apprenticeship Building America (ABA) Grant Program to expand registered apprenticeships across North Carolina. The purpose of the program is to address the need for current and future skilled labor shortages in North Carolina. ApprenticeshipNC (ANC) is the State Apprenticeship Agency for North Carolina with an established network of regional apprenticeship consultants and coordinators and youth apprenticeship coordinators. In addition, ANC provides apprenticeship awareness and development for employers, education, and training institutions, NCWorks Career Centers, workforce development boards, and other agency intermediaries assisting low-income, unemployed, and underemployed citizens. ANC plans to strengthen, modernize, expand, and diversify its Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP), and improve RAP completion rates for underrepresented populations and underserved and rural communities.
New Program Approval: The State Board approved a new program to prepare 911 Communication and Operators and noted that the program is an example of how community colleges work with local and state partners to ensure that North Carolina has a strong workforce pipeline designed to meet the unique needs of all communities. This two-year program will provide new courses in telecommunications designed to promote career advancement for individuals working in 911 operation centers statewide.
System Partnership: The State Board received a detailed briefing on the many professional services being provided by the Belk Center for Community College Leadership at N.C. State University. The Belk Center is training the next generation of North Carolina community college leaders, in addition to collaborating with existing leaders from across the state. The recent gift of $25 million from the John M. Belk Endowment will ensure the continuation of leadership services from the Belk Center over the next 10 years.
Other Action Items
The NCCCS Search Committee reported on progress to hire a search firm to assist in selecting the next System President. The board has received over 1,300 responses to a survey sent to employers and stakeholders, designed to gather input to guide the selection of the next president. The survey results are used to develop the System Presidential profile. The Search committee continues to meet every two weeks to work toward the goal of hiring a System President in the Spring.
*Availability of funding is contingent upon the US Department of Commerce EDA approval of eligibility of the subrecipients (10 community colleges). Actions are subject to the approval of OSBM and consultation with the NC General Assembly’s Commission of Governmental Operations (per G.S. 120-76.1)