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The Golden LEAF Foundation Funds NCCU BRITE Program

Pictured left to right: Dr. Mark Sorrells, Golden LEAF Foundation SVP; Thomas Stith, Golden LEAF Foundation board member; Dr. Johnson O. Akinleye, NCCU chancellor; Dr. Hernan Navarro, BRITE director; Miranda Dalton, Golden LEAF Foundation program officer; and Wendell Davis, Durham County Manager.jpg


Investment will strengthen education-to-workforce continuum in rural areas of North Carolina

A $350,000 grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation will provide students in the North Carolina Central University’s Biomanufacturing Research Institute and Technology Enterprise (BRITE) program with biotech and pharmaceutical-based internships in rural counties of North Carolina.

The grant, entitled BRITE Building Internship Opportunities for Rural N.C., will assist NCCU in contributing a pool of highly-trained, skilled and diverse graduates to work in the pharmaceutical and life sciences sector to address the increasing need for skilled employees in rural and economically-distressed areas across the state.

“North Carolina Central University is grateful to the Golden LEAF Foundation for their continued investment in our Biomanufacturing Research Institute and Technology Enterprise program,” said NCCU Chancellor Johnson O. Akinleye. “This generous partnership will help us further our commitment in producing credentialed employees for the high-demand biotech field in underserved counties in the state of North Carolina.” 

According to an International Technology & Innovation Foundation report, U.S. companies employed 1.2 million people in life sciences in 2016, with the state of North Carolina having the strongest job growth among four other states with life-sciences promotion policies - Colorado, Indiana, New Jersey and Washington. The life sciences sector adds $86 billion annually to the economic impact of the state and $2.2 billion in state and local revenues. 

“Golden LEAF is pleased to partner with North Carolina Central University and the Biomanufacturing Research Institute and Technology Enterprise to place students in internships with life-science companies in rural areas of the state,” said Mark Sorrells, Ed.D., Golden LEAF senior vice president. “This project will help strengthen the education-to-workforce continuum by providing students the opportunity to gain work experiences where they will be challenged to apply what they have learned in a work setting. It will also expose students to employment opportunities that exist in rural areas, with the hope that some might choose to work in a rural area where life-science companies find it more difficult to attract scientists.”

BRITE is focused on research, particularly in the areas of drug discovery and manufacturing technology. The 52,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility, which was established in 2004 with support from a $20.1 million grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation, combines highly-credentialed faculty with cutting-edge equipment and industry-modeled labs to create advanced research and learning environments.

Students conduct multidisciplinary and inter-institutional studies focused on health issues that disproportionately affect minority and underserved populations. The program is designed to prepare students for careers in the biomedical sciences.

Published: Friday, August 24, 2018
by Director of Marketing and Communications, Quiana M Shepard
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