BRAZOS VALLEY - It's soon to be one of the biggest industries in the Brazos Valley, Biotechnology and Therapeutics Manufacturing. This after The Texas A&M System announced last year it's under contract to create a biocorridor filled with companies that make vaccines, creating tons of jobs across the area.
To make students ideal candidates for those jobs, Blinn College created a Biotechnology program to prepare its students; including aspects like internship experience that set it apart from other schools in preparing students for the industry.
Jonathan Utley has his Bachelor's degree from Texas A&M and an Associate's degree from Blinn College, but on Tuesday nights, you'll find him in another classroom earning yet another degree.
"Main objective is really get my foot in the door because just starting off entry-level it's not that easy to say where you get your experience from," said Utley about his reason for signing up for Blinn's new Therapeutics Manufacturing program.
"This is more specialized, more focused," Utley said.
A program targeted just toward the Biotechnology industry, a field rapidly expanding in the Brazos Valley.
"In the two years or so or the year and a half it takes to build these facilities, in parallel we will be building a workforce to support those facilities," said program director John Ferreira.
Ferreira worked in the industry nearly 30 years, so he knows what employers are looking for.
"Unique to this program is the compliance component. So when a student graduates, they will understand the importance of following regulations that govern the industry," Ferreira said.
And with all that experience, Ferreira is here to mentor students like Utley and help get them jobs.
Ferreira adds, "Linked to the education, that's the number one priority."
"That's a good selling point for this. You get a lot of experience the industry's looking for," Utley said.
A new program helping shape ideal candidates for a booming industry.
There are only a few people enrolled in the program right now, so there are still spaces available to sign up; however students say they do enjoy getting one-on-one attention to better learn the industry.