This project meets a growing industry demand for skilled bioscience technicians, specifically at the College's industry partner, Charles River Laboratories. The primary goal of the grant will be to create an evening cohort of students drawn from Charles River Laboratories that work day shift and take evening courses to advance into higher level positions. A secondary benefit of this grant will be the generation and promotion of a pathway for students from a career center (Ashland County West Holmes Career Center) to a two-year institution (North Central State College), or to one of two four-year institutions (Ashland University and the University of Findlay), all of which are within a one-hour driving radius of Charles River Laboratory. Course offerings will be modified to better use distance learning, with the goal of reducing face to face lecture time while maintaining in person lab instruction. The enhancements to the Bioscience Program and pathways are designed to advance the technical education of a diverse group of students ranging from graduating career center students, to future and current students employed as biotechnicians.
The North Central State College Bioscience Technician Expansion Project aims to support and increase knowledge in the field of biotechnology in north central Ohio by bringing new opportunities for students to advance through a prescribed pathway culminating in a career in biotechnology. The project will design and enable a pathway from high school career centers through a two-year community college and on to four-year universities. The project leaders will investigate and disseminate experiences using a variety of educational tools, pedagogy, and curriculum changes that aim to support students new to the biotechnology field, as well as incumbent workers. These pathways have the potential to demonstrate and/or establish best practices for supporting student progression through a pathway from career center to 4-year institutions that will function as a self-sustaining system. The program will also incorporate assessment methods for the incumbent student population to assess knowledge gained on the job and give them credit for the skills and training they already possess. Evening courses for incumbent workers in local Biotechnology facilities will be offered. To facilitate these changes, the institution will modify course and curriculum delivery to meet the needs of the students. The modifications of delivery have measurable, predetermined expected outcomes. These outcomes will be measured to assess the educational effectiveness of these course alterations, contributing information about student learning within different presentation styles.