New Orleans-based Delgado Community College secured a $510,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program in a partnership with BioMADE. The NSF-ATE funding will be used to support the “Advancing Progress in Industrial Biomanufacturing to Accelerate Workforce Readiness” project being launched by BioMADE and Delgado Community College’s Science Laboratory Technology Program.

The partnership aims to develop a bioindustrial manufacturing curriculum, train the Gulf South workforce, participate in professional development, and provide continuing education.

BioMADE is a Manufacuring Innovation Institute (MII) sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense. It is also a member of Manufacturing USA, a national network created to secure U.S. global leadership in advanced manufacturing through large-scale public-private collaboration on technology, supply chain, and education and workforce development.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Delgado Community College, the faculty, the students, the citizens of the community, and the industry looking to fill jobs,” said Amanda Rosenzweig, PhD, co-principal investigator and interim assistant dean of Delgado’s School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. “We are excited about this opportunity to increase capacity for training Delgado students in biomanufacturing technology.”

Educating technicians

With a focus on two-year Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs), the ATE program supports the education of technicians for the high-technology fields that drive the national economy. The program involves partnerships between academic institutions, industry, and economic development agencies to promote improvement in the education of science and engineering technicians at the undergraduate and secondary institution school levels.

The ATE program supports curriculum development, professional development of college faculty and secondary school teachers, career pathways, and other activities. It is required that projects be faculty-driven and that courses and programs are credit-bearing, although materials developed may also be used for incumbent worker education.

The goals of the Delgado-BioMADE NSF-ATE project are to:

  • Develop, test, and finalize key bioprocessing concept education modules that meet performance benchmarks for bioindustrial manufacturing
  • Increase capacity of a diverse and inclusive workforce ecosystem and career entry through deployment and dissemination of curricula materials
  • Formalize the Community of Practice (CoP) for workforce agencies, academic institutions, and industry/commercial entities to inform local, regional, and national workforce efforts in bioindustrial manufacturing

Through this project, industry subject matter experts will develop eight plug-and-play modules that are designed to be dropped into pre-existing courses, easing the burden on faculty. Each module will be 6–12 hours long and will include presentations, learning assessments, and lab exercises as relevant.

Delgado Community College will serve as a testbed for the new modular curricula before subsequent dissemination and deployment of products to the wider community college ecosystem. Once evaluated and refined, the modules will be distributed to educators and workforce professionals nationwide. Modules will include:

  • Upstream processing
  • Downstream processing
  • Quality by design
  • Design of experiment
  • Good manufacturing process
  • Life cycle analysis
  • Quality systems
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