|July 28, 2008
(DURHAM, N.C.) – A partnership between Merck and Co. and Durham Technical Community College’s Biotechnology/BioWork program has resulted in a $30,000 gift by the pharmaceutical company to the college for faculty training. The $30,000 gift from Merck is an important investment in DTCC faculty development and related programs.
"As new laboratory techniques and processes become standard in the industry, faculty must possess cutting-edge skills to prepare students," said Ingrid Charles, director of Durham Tech’s BioWork/BioPharma program. "Merck’s gift will ultimately mean a larger pool of skilled employees for the predicted growth in the biomanufacturing and pharmaceutical manufacturing fields." Durham Tech offers Biotechnology/Pharmaceutical Pathways, a Continuing Education career development program to meet the staffing needs of the area’s biotechnology industry. The college provides several career options for students. Those who need to brush up on their math and science backgrounds can begin with the BioPharma Boot Camp. From there, students can enter the BioWork program and obtain a certificate in Basic Laboratory skills. The college encourages students to pursue an Associate in Science degree through the University Transfer program. With an A.S. degree, students can transfer to N.C. Central University's BRITE (Biomanufacturing Research Institute and Technology Enterprise) program and complete a baccalaureate degree in Biotechnology and Research.
Merck recently announced plans for a third phase of expansion of its new vaccine plant in Durham. There are plans to eventually add 400 new employees. Merck began building its Durham facility in 2004 and announced an expansion in 2006 while the building was still under construction. Now all three phases of the Durham facility are expected to be completed by 2011. Agnes Speight, Merck public affairs manager, noted that the company looked at several cities but decided on Durham primarily because of the area’s workforce training.
For more information on Durham Tech’s Biotechnology/BioWork program, visit