Schools prepare pipeline for big bio business as hundreds of new jobs expected at RTP

DURHAM N.C. (WNCN) – Major drug manufacturing companies are bringing hundreds of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars worth of investments to Durham County.

Area schools want to fill those positions with local talent.

This week, the Durham County Board of Commissioners approved project investments and financial economic development awards to drug developer Catalent and Eli Lilly Company.

Within the next five years, drug developer Catalent will hire 201 jobs ranging from lab associates to scientists.

Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals is looking for 100 people to expand their Research Triangle Park manufacturing facility. Eli Lilly’s positions can be secured with a tech degree or certificate.

“We’re extremely happy to have these companies come in this area,” said Telicia Hunter, Durham Technical College Life Sciences Program Director. “It’s very important for the students, it gives them numerous opportunities.”

Hunter said the school is expanding its biotech and life sciences programs and building new facilities to meet the demand of growing jobs coming to the Research Triangle.

“You need to have training, you need to have education, you need to understand why we do what we do in these roles and why it’s important,” Hunter said.

The companies plan to work with local schools to support training programs and host career fairs.

“We all in a lot of ways are, we care more about the relationship building and the pipeline building than the money,” said Wendy Jacobs, vice chair of the Durham County Commissioners in Monday’s meeting.

Eli Lilly company promises internships and apprenticeships among other partnerships.

“We will do all we reasonably can to find and build that talent that all this project requires,” Eli Lilly RTP site lead Dan VonDielingen said in Monday’s meeting.

Eli Lilly’s expansion is a $450 million investment over the next five years.