Craven Community College (Craven CC) will introduce a new BioWork certification just in time for the fall semester on Aug. 21. The program will be held on the college’s Havelock campus and will teach students the foundational skills needed to begin a career as a process technician for a biotechnology, pharmaceutical, or chemical manufacturing company.

“This program is a great chance for folks who are interested in a career in a growing field that pays well,” said Megan Johnson, Workforce Development Coordinator. “Our state has a thriving life science industry that offers numerous opportunities for students who complete the BioWork certification course.”

Biotechnology is the science of using live cells or organisms for products and services, many of which are vital to human health and safety and increase quality of life. Everyday products such as cosmetics, vitamins, carpet, paint, ink, corn, bread, beer, and inhalers are made utilizing biotechnology.

Process technicians work in manufacturing environments and have a wide variety of responsibilities in all stages of the manufacturing process. Tasks may include operating equipment, documenting and analyzing data, monitoring machinery, and improving manufacturing processes. Process technicians also maintain company safety, health, and environmental standards, with the ultimate goal of producing a quality product that meets required standards.

Course topics will include workplace safety, chemistry, process control, and microbiology. Students will receive extensive, hands-on laboratory experience in conjunction with classroom lectures and assignments. They will also learn about all aspects of the job search process, including résumé preparation and interview practice.

“Not only does this program offer the foundational knowledge and skills to enter the biotechnology field, but it also assists students with job searches and developing a professional résumé,” added Johnson. “The hands-on simulations, classroom learning, and soft skills training will fully prepare students for a career.”

Additional topics include biotechnology industry and job overview; current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP); measurements, metrics, and math; chemistry for process manufacturing; process flows, technology, and equipment; controlling the process and maintaining quality; aseptic processing; and fermentation and cell growth. Students will also learn the connection between biotechnology and products people use each day.

The BioWork Process Technician program is designed to cater to a wide range of backgrounds and career goals, ranging from recent high school graduates looking to get started in a growing industry to seasoned employees looking for a change. It’s also a great option for transitioning military. North Carolina has approximately 63,000 jobs in the biomanufacturing and life science (bioscience) industry and more than 700 biotech companies. There has been a 6.6% statewide job growth rate since 2012, while the national rate is only 2.2%.

Additionally, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employees in the process and chemical technician field earn an average of $48,990 per year. The typical entry-level education requirement is an associate degree.

In order to register, potential students must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent and view an information session. This can be found online by going to ncbionetwork.org/biowork, selecting Craven CC, and clicking the green “Start the Info Session” button. National Career Readiness Certification is also encouraged, and the test is available at the college’s New Bern campus testing center.

The BioWork class will run Aug. 21 through Nov. 27 on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays from 5:30 to 9 p.m. It will be held in Room 116 of the STEM Center, located on the Havelock campus. The $280 registration fee includes the required BioWork Student Manual, which will be provided. Financial assistance may be available for qualifying students.

For more information, contact Johnson at 252-444-6013 or johnsonm@cravencc.edu, or visit CravenCC.edu/BioWork.

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