Wilson Community College started its biotechnology program in 2019 with a handful of students. Today, we have more than 25, and 14 students have graduated from this program already.
So, what is biotechnology? Biotechnology is the scientific field that studies the processes that occur in living things and develops technologies and products to improve our lives. Jobs in the biotechnology field continue to grow, with an increase of more than 5,000 biotechnology jobs in North Carolina alone in the next five years.
WCC’s biotechnology program focuses on the application of the biological sciences, biochemistry, and genetics to improve our lives. Graduates of the program can work as research assistants to biologists or chemists or as lab/instrumentation or quality control/assurance technicians.
Along with the growth in enrollment, the College has grown its facilities. Last year we renovated the existing classroom and lab space to better suit the needs of the biotechnology program. With funding from the state and the NC Biotechnology Center in the Research Triangle Park, new furniture and some of the most advanced equipment were purchased to modernize the program. All of these changes have resulted in the program better meeting the needs of our local pharmaceutical industries and our students.
“Wilson county is experiencing rapid growth in the life sciences industry. The recent announcements of ABEC and Believer Meats, along with the existing pharmaceutical, agricultural, and contract testing laboratories, are evidence of this growth. We expect this industry will continue to generate high-quality jobs with family-sustaining wages for our community. The biotechnology program at Wilson Community College will prepare students with the skills and hands-on training needed to successfully obtain employment upon graduation.” – Stephanie Winstead, WCC Biotechnology Instructor.
Speaking of employment, our recent graduates are currently working at local pharmaceutical facilities, including Global Laboratory Systems, Inc. Phillip Morris International (Triaga), and Pfizer. Our program even includes an apprenticeship program in partnership with GlaxoSmithKlein (GSK) in Zebulon. Apprenticeships involve an apprentice working full-time while taking college classes. The apprentice earns an income and receives a free education with time included for attending class. Our first apprentice is expected to complete the program this May, and GSK is currently looking for additional apprentice applicants.
As we enter 2023, there is even more exciting news to share! The College will receive over $700,000 in funding through the NC BioBetter grant. The grant funds are the result of a partnership between the NC Biotechnology Center, the NC Community College System, and 10 community colleges across NC. The NC BioBetter grant was one of 21 projects funded through the Biden-Harris Build Back Better Regional Challenge competitive grant process.
WCC will use the funds to purchase industry-recommended training equipment and supplies in labs, increase enrollment and completions in biopharma programs, increase the number of trained biopharma faculty, and increase the number of minorities enrolling in pharma-related programs and courses.
If you are interested in learning more about the biotechnology program or careers in biotechnology, contact Stephanie Winstead, Biotechnology Instructor, at (252) 246-1207 or email@example.com.
- January 4-10 – Spring Registration
- January 6 – First Day of Classes
- January 10 – Fire Academy Graduation
- January 16 – College Closed for Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday