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Dallas College Receives $8.8 Million Biotech Grant

Education

Ben Magill speaks about the new grant. | Image by Alan Scaia

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Dallas College received a grant of approximately $8.8 million taxpayer dollars allocated for growing the future biotech workforce in North Texas. The taxpayer-funded grant was disbursed by the U.S. Economic Development Administration, according to the August 3 press release from Dallas College.

The funds were also awarded to partner institutions in the region, including the University of Texas at Arlington, Collin College, and Tarrant County College.


Dallas College Chancellor Justin Lonon stated that the work that went into the grant funding and partnerships took years to accomplish.

“Dallas College is proud to take the lead role in this new federally funded initiative to help move underemployed and unrepresented populations into living-wage jobs and grow the region’s biotech workforce,” Lonon said in the press release.

“The years of behind-the-scenes work that went into aligning the different partners and interests needed to secure this level of federal investment, from industry to our peers in higher ed, is something that deserves special recognition for the surrounding diverse communities we serve.”

The terms of the grant require Dallas College and the other institutions to develop a regional career pathway model in bioinformatics, biomanufacturing, and biotechnology. An employer-led advisory council will also create educational opportunities and market employment, according to the press release.

Several employers in the region are already onboard. Some of these employers include Tenet Health, Texas Health Resources, Children’s Health Medical Center, UT Southwestern Medical Center, and Evolve Biologics. They have committed to hiring a combined 1,100 entry-level biotech workers, according to the press release. These employers will also provide benefits and a wage of at least $15 an hour.

“The culmination of this grant award is the result of working closely with our partners to determine their needs and positioning Dallas College as an enabler of resources to produce even better jobs, all for the sake of our students, our future,” Lonon added.

The CEO of Biotech Initiatives at Lyda Hill Philanthropies, Tom Luce, called the grant a “game-changer” for the area.

“This grant is a game changer for our region’s bio life sciences workforce and for students who will soon have stronger and more direct pathways into high-paying jobs with opportunities for career growth,” Luce stated in the press release. “Thanks to this grant, that share will increase and thereby help to strengthen our health care institutions and our region’s economic vitality.”

Ben Magill, the associate vice chancellor of economic opportunity, workforce, and advancement at Dallas College, said this grant will help the college fulfill future demand for jobs in North Texas.

The Dallas Fort Worth region is expected to add more than 200,000 jobs over the next three years, according to Magill.

“Biotech is a sure bet, and Dallas-Fort Worth is poised to grow the sector like no other region can,” said Lonon.

Dallas College will also use the grant money to create an analysis of educational gaps in the region, and come up with future opportunities for programs and curriculums, according to the release.    

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