BCCC Part of New National Biotechnology Center Funded by $7.5 Million NSF Grant

(Dec. 4, 2019)  Baltimore City Community College (BCCC) was awarded $200,000 to establish its biotechnology program in Baltimore City’s Edmondson-Westside and Western high schools, as a partner in a new national biotechnology center funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The award is part of a $7.5 million grant from the NSF Advanced Technological Education program to address the rising demand for highly skilled biology technicians.

BCCC is one of several two-year schools and organizations making up the new InnovATEBIO National Biotechnology Education Center that will consolidate biotech education projects into a national network. In addition to sharing best practices and innovations in biotechnology education nationwide, the network will also expand research and career opportunities for students at two-year institutions and in secondary schools. 

“This network can transform the landscape for biotech education,” said BCCC President Debra L. McCurdy, Ph.D. “I am excited for BCCC to work with our partners across the country in fostering important connections between students, institutions, industry and the community. By leveraging these connections, we can better meet the demand of the biotechnology industry by providing a steady pipeline of highly skilled graduates.”

While the Center will focus on biotechnology education across the country, significant attention will go toward strengthening connections between high school and community college biotechnology programs. For its role as the Center’s first hub location, BCCC will deliver classes toward its Biotechnology certificate program and provide portable lab equipment in the two Baltimore City partner schools.

“The NSF Center award will make it possible to deliver BCCC’s biotechnology program directly in our two Baltimore City partner high schools,” said Amrita Madabushi, Ph.D., associate professor of biotechnology at BCCC. “Students will benefit from early research experience and getting a jump on conducting hands-on experiments in a Biotech lab, while also gaining marketable skills that employers are looking for.”

In Maryland, career projections in biotechnology through 2026 are expected to increase by 7 percent, with nearly 300 new jobs added each year. Madabushi, who also serves as the Baltimore Biotech hub director, said earning a certificate or associate degree in biotechnology will prepare students for many jobs in this growing field. BCCC offers an associate degree in Biotechnology and certificates in Biotechnology Lab and Lab Animal Science.  

“The goal is to create a pipeline of students who would finish certificate-level courses at their high school, then transfer to BCCC for their associate degree,” said Madabushi. “This is a tremendous opportunity for the College, our partner schools and all of the students in the program.”

The InnovATEBIO Center will build a national network of educators, students, alumni and industry partners, including incubators, trade organizations and professional societies to develop and share best practices in biotechnology workforce development. In addition to BCCC, partners include:

  • Austin Community College, Austin, Texas (lead college);
  • Bay Area Bioscience Center (CSBI Group), San Francisco, Calif.;
  • Bay Area Bioscience Education Community, San Francisco, Calif.;
  • Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (DNA Learning Center), Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.;
  • Digital World Biology, Seattle, Wash.;
  • Finger Lakes Community College, Canandaigua, N.Y.;
  • Forsyth Technical Community College, Winston-Salem, N.C.;
  • Madison College, Madison, Wis.;
  • New York City College of Technology, N.Y.;
  • Washington State University, Pullman, Wash.

For more information on BCCC’s Biotechnology program, contact Amrita Madabushi, Ph.D. at AMadabushi@bccc.edu. Visit https://innovatebio.org for more details about the new NSF Center.

About Baltimore City Community College

Baltimore City Community College (BCCC) is a fully accredited, public, two-year institution serving more than 13,000 students annually through classes offered at its main campus in West Baltimore, additional sites throughout the city and online. Founded in 1947, BCCC is the only urban community college in Maryland. Through the College’s broad range of degree and workforce development programs, certificates and industry credentials, students can earn credits that transfer to four-year schools and receive training that leads directly to job placement. www.bccc.edu