According to the Pitt County Development Commission, East Carolina University (ECU) and Pitt Community College (PCC) will partner to establish the Biopharmaceutical Work Force Development and Manufacturing Center of Excellence. With funds provided by the Golden LEAF Foundation, this effort will create the East Coast’s finest training center for biomanufacturing and pharmaceuticals.  Additional support from the North Carolina Community College System’s NCWorks Customized Training and BioNetwork will enhance the planned facilities and programs.

Unanimously voting to provide the largest such grant this year, the Golden LEAF Board of Directors will provide $1,750,000—to ECU ($1,100,000) and PCC ($650,000).  The creation of the Biopharmaceutical Work Force Development and Manufacturing Center of Excellence is a model for economic and work force development collaboration.  PCC, ECU, the NC Community College BioNetwork, and Pitt County are partnering to develop an educational and training infrastructure for a 21st century pharmaceutical services workforce to meet the labor and expertise needs of such companies as Patheon, a leading provider of drug substance and drug product services for the global biopharmaceutical industry.

The Golden LEAF Board of Directors had earlier reserved funding for this purpose as part of North Carolina’s efforts to recruit Patheon to expand in Greenville, NC. Governor Pat McCrory announced this expansion of an estimated 488 jobs in October of 2014. Golden LEAF recognizes the economic and workforce development opportunity at hand and shares the vision of a bright pharmaceutical services future for the region, where over 8,000 people are already directly employed in pharmaceutical manufacturing.  Companies such as RTI, the manufacturer of a sterile biomedical device, are also growing in Pitt County.