Aberdeen Proving Ground — Harford Community College is collaborating with the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Chemical Biological Center (DEVCOM CBC) on an educational partnership agreement to formalize opportunities for biotechnology students enrolled at the College.

Dr. Eric L. Moore, director of DEVCOM CBC, and HCC’s new president, Dr. Theresa Felder, signed the agreement Feb. 10 to lay the groundwork for a biomanufacturing cooperative educational program.

Under the agreement, the Center and the College will establish a cooperative hands-on training program to provide students with access to Army subject matter experts and state-of-the-art facilities in biomanufacturing, synthetic biology, biotechnology, and data analysis architecture, according to Amanda Hess, research and technology applications officer for DEVCOM CBC.

Students will have the opportunity to begin their industry careers via work-based apprenticeship learning experiences, and CBC will gain access to a talent pool with the professional, field-specific, and career-readiness skills to succeed in biotechnology employment for its future workforce. In addition, the agreement will support broader collaboration between DEVCOM CBC and HCC in K-12 STEM activities related to biotechnology.

Harford Community College is expanding its biotechnology program through a recent National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education (ATE) grant for its “Building Interest and Opportunities Through Engagement and Collaborative (BIOTEC) Pathways” program, according to Dr. Felder. The grant creates pathways for future biotechnical employment for students as they progress from Harford County Public Schools to pursuing an associate of science degree at HCC. Graduates can transition directly to a biotechnology career or transfer to a four-year institution, to include the University of Maryland Baltimore County at Shady Grove.

With the development of the biotechnology associate degree program, it was the ideal time to collaborate with DEVCOM CBC in a formal agreement to introduce students to biomanufacturing careers and help develop future talent in biotechnology.

“The DEVCOM Chemical Biological Center has provided STEM outreach to Harford County Public Schools for many years. The Center is currently expanding and enhancing its biomanufacturing capabilities to become a key technology leader in the Nation’s future bioeconomy,” said Dr. Moore. “The two dovetail perfectly for preparing Harford Community College students for this high-tech future and for training our own future workforce.”

Dr. Felder noted that with some of the nation’s best minds in biotechnology employed at the Center, the partnership between HCC and DEVCOM CBC couldn’t be a better fit.

“This is an exciting time for our students to have the experience of learning from and working alongside some of the nation’s leading biotechnology scientists,” Dr. Felder said. “Harford is proud to continue their partnership with DEVCOM CBC.”

Harford Community College and DEVCOM CBC signed their first education partnership agreement in 2013, which encouraged collaboration between the two organizations in STEM disciplines.

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