Advancing Progress in Industrial BioManufacturing to Accelerate Workforce Readiness
The rapidly expanding sector of biotechnology requires a workforce trained in all aspects of biomanufacturing. This project, in particular, is leading the development of workforce programming designed to increase career readiness and occupational competencies in the emerging space of bioindustrial manufacturing. While existing programs that lead to degrees and credentials in biotechnology provide critical core skills, they fall short of meeting the industry benchmarks for the skills and competencies in demand for industrial scale bioprocessing. New curricula are needed to teach critical engineering principles such as analysis, design, development, scale-up, and commercialization of bio-based processes and products. Expansion of the talent pool to leverage the existing biotechnology program infrastructure in our Nation?s community colleges will require the development and adoption of new curricular materials to integrate key benchmarks for bioprocess engineering. Instructional modules created as part of this project will guide other colleges with materials adaptation and course integration during the scale-out phase of the project.
Three goals guide this project's collaboration between Delgado Community College (DCC) and Bioindustrial Manufacturing and Design Ecosystem (BioMADE). First is to formalize a Community of Practice (CoP) for workforce agencies, academic institutions, and industry/commercial entities to inform local, regional, and national workforce efforts in bioindustrial manufacturing. Second is to develop, test, and finalize key bioprocessing concept education modules that meet performance benchmarks for bioindustrial manufacturing. Third is to increase capacity of a diverse and inclusive workforce ecosystem as well as career entry through the deployment of curricular materials and dissemination efforts, such as industry-driven workshops, government interagency collaboration, and expanded community and technical college curriculum adoption. This project will fill knowledge gaps related to bioprocessing for careers in bioindustrial manufacturing. These efforts will contribute to a well-prepared, industry-qualified, and diverse biomanufacturing workforce. Not only will the proposed BioMADE project produce resources that will address skills and advancement opportunities for high-skilled technicians in the bioindustrial manufacturing industry, but it will ensure that that industry has the talent it needs to drive innovation and regional bioeconomic security. This project will increase the number and diversity of students who enter the bioindustrial manufacturing workforce in the deep South of the United States, but the resources generated will enhance existing biotechnology workforce programs more widely. BioMADE will disseminate these resources broadly through channels that impact our active and veteran military, existing biotechnology education programs, local workforce development agencies, and interagency/cross-government agency networks. This project is funded by the Advanced Technological Education program that focuses on the education of technicians for the advanced technology fields that drive the Nation's economy.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.