As biotechnology interests and activities continue to increase in Florida and across the nation, a skilled workforce becomes increasingly vital to the success of this burgeoning industry. The Florida Center of Excellence for Biomolecular Identification and Targeted Therapueutics (BITT) with its National Science Foundation partner, FLATE, continues to support the needs of local biotech companies by garnering the interest of secondary and post-secondary students as the first step toward a technical career in biotechnology. One important component of the strategy to achieve this goal is to host professional development workshops for high school teachers.
A series of workshops will begin in February, and introduce attendees to current concepts and practices in biotechnology. The first of the scheduled workshops, “Metrology & Micropipetting” on February 19th and “DNA Fingerprinting” on February 26th, will be facilitated by biotech faculty from HCC Brandon. The techniques taught at these workshops can be incorporated into biology and chemistry classes, thus furthering the combined goals of FLATE and BITT. In addition to targeting high school students for careers in biotechnology, BITT is also working to expand the online curriculum available to students at HCC enrolled in the newly established Biotechnology Program. This program leads to an Associate of Science degree, which meets the education requirements stipulated by many biotech companies. These activities represent just two of the ways BITT and FLATE are taking a long-term view to build a strong foundation for future student development and success.
The State of Florida has the third largest population in country, with an official 2010 estimate of 19 million persons and approximately 50% of the population is in the civilian labor force (9,000,000).
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FLATE’s administrative core is a partnership between St.Petersburg College, the College of Engineering at the University of South Florida and Hillsborough Community College. The Center is housed at Hillsborough Community College on its Brandon Campus under the leadership of Campus President, Dr. Nancee Sorenson. It occupies 1500 square feet of office space and shares the laboratory resources of the manufacturing /engineering technology program.
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