DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — A local biopharma company is offering to put students to work and pay their tuition, with no obligation from the students after graduation.

According to CEO Dirk Lange, KBI BioPharma is looking to hire somewhere between 200 and 250 workers. To keep Durham’s top talent at home he’s starting a paid pipeline at Durham Tech.

“It is a very competitive job market specifically here in North Carolina,” said Lange.

Since building their first facility in the North Carolina Technical Park in 2003, KBI has expanded to more than 1,200 employees, but they’re running into a problem.

“There is more demand than supply in terms of talent right now,” said Lange. “There’s a lot of competition for talent.”

With a new $150-million expansion into RTP, KBI BioPharma is partnering with Durham Tech on a new three-year apprenticeship program to put students to work.

“They have exposure through the program to logistics, warehousing, and manufacturing support groups all the way to actual manufacturing processing,” said Lange.

While working towards an associate’s degree, KBI will pick up the tab for tuition and pay a full salary and benefits package.

Lange said it’s “$35,000 to $45,000 a year at the beginning. From there, they’re certainly well prepared to advance their career very quickly within the company.”

Initially the program is going to target local high school graduates and military veterans.

The pilot program is starting small with only four members in 2021.

Lange told CBS 17 he hopes to scale up to somewhere between 25 and 50 people in every graduating class.

For more information on KBI BioPharma click here: https://www.kbibiopharma.com/careers