Federal grant provides $1.1M boost for Alamance Community College biotech program

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by Bryant Haskins, NCBiotech Writer

Alamance Community College (ACC) just got a big boost to its biotechnology programs with a $1.1 million grant from the federal Economic Development Administration (EDA).

The money will be used to help buy high-tech equipment to provide training for students and workers in biotechnology-related programs, the college said.

The training equipment will ultimately be housed in the Biotechnology Center of Excellence, a $17.4 million facility scheduled to open in the fall of 2022.

The 34,000-square-foot center, to be located on the college’s Graham campus, will house the biotechnology, medical laboratory technology, and histotechnology (science centering on the microscopic detection of tissue abnormalities for disease diagnosis and treatment) programs.

ACC President Algie Gatewood said the federal grant is an “important donation,” but added that  total equipment needs for the Biotechnology Center are close to $5 million. “We welcome gifts for this excellent facility from all our community partners because their contributions will enhance the important training that will happen inside those walls,” he added.

Rendering of ACC’s Biotechnology Center of Excellence. — ACC photo

The college said the EDA-funded equipment and the training programs that use it will bolster educational opportunities, help generate a significant number of new high-paying jobs in the Piedmont Triad region and encourage private investment.

ACC said its agricultural biotechnology program will, for instance, benefit by adding equipment to its lab and farm facilities, which will promote collaborative training and research projects with companies in the food production industry.

“ACC continues to succeed in its quest to create optimal learning experiences for its students,” said Nancy Johnston, executive director of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center’s Piedmont Triad office. “Access to this modern equipment will advance new competencies and provide competitive advantage for our growing life sciences sector.”

Labcorp, a global life sciences company and major employer in Alamance County, and Cone Health Alamance Regional Medical Center in Burlington have committed to creating new high-wage, high-skilled jobs in support of the EDA donation, according to ACC.

“The grant we received from the Economic Development Administration is such an important and crucial gift to our college because it will make a difference in our training methodology for not only our students who are embarking on high-paying science and healthcare careers, but for our industry partners,” Gatewood said. “It’s a wonderful feeling to know that our community college is working hand-in-hand with Labcorp, ARMC, and so many others to ensure that their workers, as well as our graduates, are some of the best-trained in the nation.”

ACC is located in Graham, with a separate campus in Burlington. It has more than 4,200 students. NCBiotech supported the school’s efforts to boost bioscience industry growth with a $100,000 Economic Development Award in 2018.

Original Source: WRAL TechWire