Appeared as part of the Community College sponsored section in the March 2019 issue.
GRAHAM – When he arrived on campus five years ago, Alamance Community College President Dr. Algie Gatewood immediately began asking top industry leaders how the College could better prepare a 21st century workforce.
That business feedback has transformed a college straddling the Triad and Triangle markets. Consider recent headlines:
• In November, voters approved a $39.6 million bond referendum that will launch a half dozen new facilities, including a Biotechnology Center of Excellence. The bond package was the largest ever in the College’s history and it passed by a record 2-to-1 margin in a fiscally-conservative county.
• Two years ago, the College opened a $16 million Advanced Applied Technology Center that expanded legacy industrial programs and added Mechatronics Engineering. The College also won a $1 million federal grant – the largest grant in College history – to provide financial support for Mechatronics students.
• The College joined the public school system, the Chamber of Commerce and area businesses to launch a “learn and earn” apprentice program that trains high school students in Computer-Integrated Machining and Mechatronics.
• ACC introduced a host of just-in-time certificates – pharmacy technician, geriatric aide, plumbing, electrical and commercial truck driving – in response to business demands.
• In addition, the College added new degree programs: Histotechnology, Agricultural Biotechnology, Medical Auditor, and Associate in Fine Arts.
• The College enhanced university transfer options through articulation or dual-enrollment agreements with N.C. State University, UNC-Greensboro, N.C. A & T State University, and N.C. Central University.
“In an increasingly competitive 21st century global economy, workforce development and responsiveness to industry are absolutely critical,” Gatewood said. “We are a powerful economic development engine committed to transforming this College through partnerships and new programs.”
What factors lead to a Biotechnology Center of Excellence?
• As the nation’s longest-running 2-year biotechnology program, ACC has the most complete bio-manufacturing suite of any N.C. community college. The College is uniquely positioned to partner with area universities and industry and it is parked in one of the busiest biosciences corridors on the East Coast.
• The annual economic impact of North Carolina’s bioscience industry is expected to top $100 billion in North Carolina by 2025.
• Burlington – just five minutes from the main campus – is ranked the #1 small Metropolitan Statistical Area in research, testing and medical labs in the country.
• Biotechnology enjoys natural synergies and collaborations with such existing ACC programs as Medical Laboratory Technology, Horticulture and Information Technology.
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1247 Jimmie Kerr Road, Graham, NC 27253
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