NC A&T and Merck Establish Biotechnology Training Center, Boosting North Carolina Workforce Development

North Carolina A&T State University (NCA&T) and pharmaceutical giant Merck are joining forces to establish a biotechnology training center at the Gateway Research Park South Campus in East Greensboro. This collaboration aims to provide NCAT students with an exciting avenue to pursue careers in the biopharmaceutical industry while boosting the state's workforce development efforts in this field.

Expected to be completed in 2024, the state-of-the-art training center will occupy a 4,025-square-foot space. Merck, which already operates five facilities in North Carolina, including the recently expanded Maurice R. Hilleman Center for Vaccine Manufacturing in Durham, will equip the center with the necessary equipment to offer hands-on training to students. The focus of the training will be on developing science, technology, and engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills through practical applications in manufacturing and research.

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One of the key benefits of this collaboration is the direct employment opportunities it will provide to NCA&T graduates. With their training at the biotechnology center, students will be well-prepared to enter the workforce and are likely to find employment at Merck's various facilities in the state.

This alignment between academia and industry will help bridge the gap between education and the practical skills required for industrial jobs in the biopharmaceutical sector.

Furthermore, the training center will not only serve NCA&T students but also provide training for new and current vaccine manufacturers. This initiative reflects Merck's commitment to fostering talent and expertise within the state.

By investing in workforce development, Merck aims to enhance its operations and contribute to the growth and success of the biopharmaceutical industry in North Carolina. The collaboration between NCA&T and Merck also benefits the university's Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, particularly its biotechnology and bioengineering degree and certificate programs. These programs will receive valuable support from Merck expertise and resources, creating a mutually beneficial relationship that promotes academic excellence and industry relevance.

This partnership exemplifies the forward-thinking approach of both NCA&T and Merck. By establishing the training center at the Gateway Research Park, they demonstrate their commitment to fostering innovation and collaboration in facilities that benefit not only health outcomes but also the research ecosystem in the region and the state as a whole. Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr. of NCA&T emphasizes the significance of this partnership in strengthening their impact and optimizing the development of innovative Ideas.

This collaboration between NCA&T and Merck is not an isolated effort in the North Carolina biopharmaceutical landscape. Other companies, such as Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly have also shown support for workforce development in the state. Novo Nordisk's generous donation to Durham Technical Community College and the establishment of a Life Sciences Training Center highlight the commitment of these companies to cultivating fresh talent.

Similarly, Eli Lilly investments in North Carolina, including the Lilly Science and Technology Center at Wake Technical Community College, aim to promote workforce development and address the growing demand for skilled professionals in the industry.

In addition to these industry-academia collaborations, the Golden LEAF Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center (BTEC) at N.C. State University is playing a crucial role in training the biotech workforce of tomorrow.

These workforce development programs' combined capabilities are paving the way for a bright future for biotech, pharma, and medtech companies in Research Triangle Park and beyond. With 810 life sciences enterprises employing 75,000 individuals, North Carolina RTP continues to be recognized as one of the top biopharma clusters.