The growth of Texas companies that manufacture biological products on a contract basis has created a local and regional workforce need. This project proposes to serve this growing biopharmaceutical manufacturing industry by developing an advanced biomanufacturing certificate and educating a skilled and diverse biomanufacturing technical workforce. The new certificate will be designed to incorporate interactive and inquiry-based laboratory learning and to provide students with real world experience with biotechnical/biomanufacturing equipment. The project will also implement new strategies for recruitment and retention and provide educators with professional development relevant to the new certificate. The certificate is expected to serve two-year college students and high school students, as well as impact university faculty and industry partners. The project aims to provide equitable access to successful biomanufacturing careers for under-represented groups, including students who are women, Hispanic, and/or first-generation college students.
This project involves a collaboration between Del Mar College and Texas A & M University. The technical merit of the project includes building upon and incorporating hands-on, instructor-led training modules covering bioprocess operations, upstream and downstream manufacturing of biologics, vaccines, quality control systems, and regulatory compliance. The goals of the project include: (1) Improving student learning with applied industry training and laboratory rotations; (2) Institutionalizing a rigorous and improved biomanufacturing curriculum for long-term impact at Del Mar College and as a model for other institutions; and (3) Adding depth to the new Del Mar College biotechnology programs through strong collaborations with Texas A&M University. The project includes assessment and evaluation of the efficacy of project activities, thus adding to understanding of the factors necessary for student career success in STEM. The project will be disseminated through online media and presentations at national meetings. The project aims to benefit society by providing students with new educational and career pathways, particularly for students who are from groups that are not yet equitably represented in biomanufacturing. 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.