Orange County Biotechnology Collaborative Partnership


Applications of biotechnology affect diverse and critical facets of our lives from the development of medicines we take, to the production of food we eat, to the creation of fuels that power our vehicles and more. Furthermore, the bioscience/biotechnology industry is a significant contributor to the United States economy, employing in excess of 1.6 million workers at more than 70,000 companies. Whether they take place in major universities, large corporations or small start-up companies, research and development activities that lead to advances in the field of biotechnology rely greatly on the presence of well-qualified entry-level technical employees to carry out essential tasks. In order to serve the needs of the regional bioscience/biotechnology industry, the Orange County Biotechnology Collaborative Partnership will unify and fortify the individual efforts in biotechnician education of three southern California community colleges, Santa Ana College, Santiago Canyon College and Fullerton College.

Working with an advisory board composed of representatives from the local industry and academic institutions, the members of the Orange County Biotechnology Collaborative Partnership will design a curriculum tailored to provide program graduates with professional skills and competencies highly desired in the workplace. Program elements being developed across the three colleges include simulated workplace experiences embedded within biotechnology courses, extensive outreach to local high schools and internship opportunities in industrial and academic settings for students in the program. A series of three successive stackable certificates will provide students with options for multiple program entry and exit points. Completion of the three certificates plus two additional classes in a specialty area of emphasis will lead to an Associate of Science degree in Biotechnology. As all three colleges in the partnership are Hispanic-Serving Institutions, this project will provide educational pathways into the STEM professional workforce for individuals historically underrepresented in science and technology. Project evaluation will involve metrics such as numbers and demographics of program graduates, employer surveys to ensure industry needs are being addressed and whether project goals and objectives are met. These efforts will contribute to the general knowledge base regarding successful practices for embedding professional skills training within formal advanced technological coursework, as well as the effectiveness of stackable certificates in promoting flexible entrance to and exit from the biotechnician program.

ATE Award Metadata

Award Number
Funding Status
ATE Start Date
August 1st, 2015
ATE Expiration Date
June 30th, 2019
ATE Principal Investigator
Kathleen Takahashi
Primary Institution
Rancho Santiago Community College District
Record Type
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