The institute was formed as a result of funding from a Wagner Peyser Grant awarded to Austin Community College in 2014. It was formed for the purpose of better connecting the Biotechnology Program to industry, other educational institutions, and the government. The mission of the institute is to promote economic development, expand educational opportunities for students, employees, and educators, and influence policy that directly impacts industry, the workforce, and education. Several grants are already part of the institute. They are as follows:
AC2 Bio-Link Regional Center It is an NSF-funded ATE Center of Excellence funded in 2015, and has the same mission statement as Bio-Link, the Next Generation National ATE Center of Excellence for Biotechnology and Life Sciences. “ Specific goals of this regional center focus initially on the states of Texas and Kentucky but results will be disseminated and eventually applied across the nation and globally. (DUE # 1501207)
The specific goals of this grant are as follows:
Establish a sustainable Biotechnology Community College Distributed Leadership Network within the states of Texas and Kentucky.
Scale-up the Biotechnology High School/College Mentor Network.
Utilizing a variety of strategies including undergraduate research, develop new student recruitment pipelines into the industry.
Implement an entry-level certificate in high schools.
Establish Contract Service Organizations pairing industry projects with Student Interns and Faculty Externships.
Establish Universal Articulation Agreements between High School and 2-year Partners and between 2-year Partners with 4-year Schools.
Advanced Commercialization ACCelerator Supported by a $4.9M award through the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, the Advanced Commercialization ACCelerator (ACA) aims to develop public-private partnerships by setting up a biotechnology incubator and wet lab facility, which will accelerate growth of the emerging technology economy and provide a trained workforce in Central Texas.
Wagner Peyser Grant
The Wagner Peyser is a $649,994 federally funded grant (TWC contract #1415WPB000) administered by the Texas Workforce Commission to support training for the position of Laboratory Technician.
Department of Labor (DOL) A multistate consortium of 12 community colleges that will harmonize a recognizable set of core skills and competencies across the biosciences subsectors of laboratory skills, biomanufacturing and medical devices and introduce new, stackable and latticed credentials, that will assist TAA-certified and other displaced workers in getting new jobs. $446,685
Bio-Link, the Next Generation National Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Center of Excellence for Biotechnology and Life Sciences Bio-Link originated in late 1998 with a grant from the National Science Foundation as a National ATE Center for Biotechnology. Bio-Link enhances biotechnology education programs by providing cutting edge professional development for instructors, by improving curriculum, by making use of technologies and by creating a system for sharing of information. The mission statement is as follows: (1) increase the number and diversity of well-trained technicians in the workforce; (2) meet the ever-growing needs of a continually evolving and diversifying industry for appropriately trained technicians; and (3) institutionalize community college education practices that make high-quality education and training in the concepts, tools, skills processes, regulatory structure, and ethics of biotechnology available to all students. Austin Community College is one of the main “Bio-Link Partners.”(DUE # 0903317)
NSF – Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative (CCURI) – Award # 1118679
The Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative (CCURI – www.ccuri.org) is a national consortium of community colleges, four-year schools, government agencies, and private organizations dedicated to the development, implementation, and assessment of a sustainable model for integrating an undergraduate research (UR) experience into community college biology curriculum. $11,894
Perkins State Leadership Grant
This project provides advanced training and implementation support through online methods and face-to-face programs to build on educational content and laboratory training, educational strategies, practical skill building and career pathway information to share with students and increase enrollments in Biotechnology at the community colleges. $140,700
Texas Education Agency (TEA) The Texas Education Agency and Austin Community College Biotechnology Program have collaborated to offer a professional development opportunity for high school science, health science, agriculture, and STEM Career and Technical Education (CTE) teachers in the state of Texas. $20,000.
The Biotechnology Program conducts classes at the Eastview (EVC-evening classes) and Round Rock (RRC-day classes) campuses.