3-5-2020 – New CCC&TI program a first in region

Posted on: March 6th, 2020 by admin


March5, 2020





In response to the growing pharmaceutical industry in the region, Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute is rolling out a new program that will be just the second of its kind in North Carolina.


CCC&TI’s newest two-year degree — the Associate in Applied Science in Biopharmaceutical Technology — will be available for enrollment in the fall. President Dr. Mark Poarch said it should have a positive impact for Caldwell County and neighboring areas.


“It’s not just necessarily going to be a Caldwell County program,” he said. “We’re looking at this being a regional program for western North Carolina that strengthens our partnerships with other colleges, other companies as well as the workforce all throughout our area.”


The only other community college biopharmaceutical program is at Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh, and Poarch said that hosting the only program in the western half of the state could turn CCC&TI into a hotspot for a growing industry.


CCC&TI is in the process of converting a section of the Hudson campus that used to house the manufacturing classes into a lab space for the pharmaceuticals program. The manufacturing classes will be moving into the new Paul H. Broyhill Center for Advanced Technologies at the intersection of U.S. 321 and Pine Mountain Road.


Vice President of Instruction Randy Ledford said that the classrooms and work spaces will be refitted over the summer to accommodate the needs of the pharmaceuticals program.


“We’re looking at installing a modular septic clean room with a simulated fill-line just like you would see when working anywhere in the industry,” he said. “Even though it’s manufacturing, it’s a different kind of environment that students need to get comfortable with. Understanding how to work in a clean environment is especially critical in this field.”


When deciding whether to start a new program, Ledford said that college officials looks at a number of factors, including the benefits for potential students and the hiring capacity of companies.


“We spend a great deal of time learning exactly what a two-year degree would give our students,” Ledford said. “We ask what values the industry itself is putting on the degree. Does it change the rate of pay for employees?”


Through research into statewide hiring trends they learned the pharmaceutical industry places a high value on the two-year degree as well as on short-term programs that educate existing or prospective employees, Ledford said.


The new program is indicative of the college’s mission to remain in line with the needs of local business and community partners, Poarch said.


“Existing companies in this industry — like Exela Pharma Sciences and Stallergenes Greer — are growing,” Poarch said. “And now with an additional 167 new jobs planned in the next five years, there’s a growing capacity for workers to be filled.”


The 167 new jobs was a reference to Bio-Nutra, an India-based maker of probiotics, vitamins, medicinal foods and dietary supplements that plans to open its first U.S. plant in Lenoir.


The arrival of Bio-Nutra was facilitated partly by a state grant program that will provide job-creation incentives to the company. The deal also brought in $480,000 in grant money to the college from the Golden LEAF Foundation for establishing the biopharmaceutical program, including funding the addition of over $250,000 in equipment, faculty and classroom space and almost $200,000 for the clean-room.


Fall registration for courses at CCC&TI begins March 25 and will close Aug. 11. Summer registration begins on the same day and ends May 13.

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