Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the Orangeburg-Calhoun Area Biotechnology Consortium Project administered by Claflin University will receive a $750,000 grant. The grant will be used to create an education infrastructure that helps about 100 students per year train and qualify for positions in the biotechnology industry.
“Biotechnology is going to be a major focus of the American economy in the next decade,” said Graham. “It’s important we have a workforce that is well-trained and ready for new jobs in this sector.”
Employment in the area’s biotechnology industry, which includes pharmaceuticals, medical devices and equipment, is projected to increase 20 percent by 2010. There are currently no entry-level programs for biotechnology workers in the area and only one established two-year biotechnology entry-level program in the state.
Employers and other related biosciences industries have employment needs for skilled workers, but there are no formal targeted or specialized certificate and degrees for entry into biotechnology. Local biotechnology employers also face high rates of turnover.
The education process for participants will continue through the issuance of formal certificates for training in biotechnology while others will continue into degree programs. Job shadowing in the biotechnology field will also be a part of the curriculum.
Among the disciplines to be established will be Biotechnology Laboratory Technician, Biomanufacturing Technician, Forensics Training, Radiography Technician, and Agricultural Biotechnology Technician.
Key partners of the program will be Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College, South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy, Zeus Corporation, Supersod, Albermarle Corporation, Orangeburg County Economic Development Board, and the Lower Savannah Workforce Development Board.
Claflin was one of twelve recipients chosen for grants out of 229 proposals received by the U.S. Department of Labor.