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 Selected from over 100 nominations that were submitted, the Northern California Bay Area Biotechnology Center at Ohlone College is among 16 finalists for the 2nd Annual East Bay Innovation Awards.

East Bay Development Alliance (EDA) presents this award to the most significant contributors to the East Bay’s unique culture and legacy of innovation. “We want to celebrate their accomplishments, raise awareness about the forward-thinking businesses and resources that are based in the East Bay, and inspire other companies to think outside the box,” said Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson, Chair of the East Bay EDA.

The Northern California Bay Area Biotechnology Center at Ohlone College (NCBC) is vital to the region’s prosperity and technological innovation, providing skilled, workforce-ready employees for life sciences companies.  NCBC directly addresses the needs of such companies through partnerships with industry leaders, including Boehringer, Ingelheim, Life Technologies, Bayer, BioChain Institute, and more.  These represent a few examples of over 1,700 biosciences companies in the Bay Area, of which approximately 700 are located in the East Bay. Thus far, the Center has provided training to over 2,000 employees from about 200 Bay Area companies.

One of the unique programs at the NCBC is the Learning Alliance for Bioscience (LAB).  This program targets underrepresented students for articulated career pathways at 12 high schools, allowing completion of college credits while enrolled in high school.  Students receive a head start in Ohlone College’s Biotechnology program, without having to pay for tuition or books. Once students graduate from high school, they have the opportunity to continue the program at Ohlone College and in just one year can earn a certificate in Biotechnology.

From high school students to current employees seeking career advancement, the NCBC provides authentic workplace experiences by providing students state-of-the-art labs and opportunities for internships at local companies. The faculty is comprised of experienced professionals with hands-on experience in their fields. Upon completion, students are equipped for entry-level biotechnology jobs, career advancement, or transfer to university.

The NCBC also serves to bridge education and industry through professional development workshops for teachers and community college instructors taught by subject matter experts. The Center’s force in innovation and economic development has attracted grants from the National Science Foundation, California Community Colleges, and the Trade Act Program’s “Design it-Build it-Ship it” grant.

The East Bay Innovation Awards finalists will be recognized at a gala event on February 13, 2014 at the Fox Theater in Oakland where the winners will be announced.


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