North Carolina is home to one of the largest and most diverse biotechnology clusters in the United States. From research-driven start-ups to global giants, more than 600 biotech companies call the Tar Heel State home. These firms, which collectively employ 70,000 people, have found North Carolina to be an excellent location for all facets of the industry, from discovery to manufacturing.


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Every public power community in NC shares a formula for business success: a track record of reliable energy and the flexibility to adapt to changing community and local business needs. Looking for second opinions on why an NC public power community is a great place to do business? Did you know:


N.C.'s Industrial Electric Rate is 10% BELOW the national average

North Carolina has the lowest corporate income tax in the United States

Colleges and universities in N.C. are graduating more than 22,500 STEM degree students annually

North Carolina has the third largest pharmaceutical manufacturing employment in the US

Innovative Workforce Programs Ensure Bio-Manufacturing Success

Back in 2018, walking away from a conversation with North Pitt High School sophomore Diana De Leon, Mark Phillips knew he wanted to help her. He just needed to figure out how.

Mark is North Carolina Biotechnology Center’s Vice President of Statewide Operations and Executive Director of its Eastern Regional Office in the public power city of Greenville, North Carolina.

Diana’s interest in both the medical and engineering fields—and the fact that she was rebuilding a Mustang with her brother—inspired Mark. On the way to his next meeting, the idea for the Pharma K12Workforce Development Training Initiative came together.

North Carolina Pharmaceutical Services Network instructor Mike Renn guides Pharma K12 Workforce Development Training Initiative participants at Pitt Community College. (NC Biotechnology Center)

He partnered with Greenville-based Thermo Fisher Scientific to make it happen, launching a pilot program in 2019.

The program enables high school graduates to participate in two and a half days of pharmaceutical manufacturing training at the North Carolina Pharmaceutical Services Network at Pitt Community College. They can do it as soon as the week following graduation. Along with learning good manufacturing practices and working in a regulated environment, students gain hands on experience with equipment.

“Four years into the program, we’ve had 24 of these young high school students hired, and of those 24, 21 are still working at Thermo Fisher Scientific,” Mark says. Diana is one of them.

A recent grant from the U.S. Economic Development Association is enabling Mark and team to expand the program to up to 96 students over the next three years. It’s also enabling them to get the word out across the state about what a career in life sciences means.

“It does not mean you’ve got to have a four year degree or a two-year degree,” he says. “It means that these career opportunities are there, and wherever you are along your career pathway, there’s an opportunity for you.”

Tommy Schornak, Thermo Fisher Scientific’s Vice President and General Manager in Greenville, told NC Biotech, “We see the Pharma K12 program providing the longer-term pipeline of local talent into our organization to support our growth and expansion in the coming years.”

In Johnston County, educational biopharma public-private partnerships are targeting even younger students.

Discover the Plasma is a collaboration between Grifols, Johnston County Schools, and Johnston Community College that brings real-world science curriculum to every eighth grader in Johnston County Schools. Using virtual labs, videos, and other engaging tools, students learn about plasma and the life-saving plasma-derived medications being made at the Grifols plant in the public power town of Clayton—the largest in the world producing plasma medications.

Along with that education, Chris Johnson, Director of Johnston County Economic Development, says students can connect the dots between what they’re doing in the program and a career making $70,000-$80,000 a year.

The JOCO WORKS program, sponsored by Novo Nordisk, Johnston County Public Schools, and Johnston Community College is a two-day career fair that enables every Johnston County eighth grader to be exposed to the county’s top employers across a range of industries. Chris says the program dives deep into all aspects of the industries.

“When you think of life sciences or pharmaceutical, you think of somebody sitting there making pills,” he says. We may not think of the machines involved, the robotics, or the facilities management. The fair shows students that there’s “so much beyond the chemistry part of it,” he says.

For bio-manufacturing companies looking to locate or expand in North Carolina, these and other innovative training programs provide assurance that a skilled and ready workforce can continue to drive success well into the future.

Smart Sites® and Shell Buildings

Critical production demands can’t always wait on a lengthy construction project. We created the Smart Sites® program to offer more shovel-ready property for economic development growth in our member communities. The valuable due diligence included in our program assists site selectors in making informed, intelligent choices. In short, the Smart Sites® program simplifies the process for consultants and companies and minimizes risk to them.

Looking for a move-in ready manufacturing space? Many of our member communities have shell industrial buildings that may suit your needs. Below are just a few of our many available Smart Sites® and Shell Buildings.

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Connect with us for additional information on these and other available properties.

Additional Key Industries within Public Power Communities

The plastics and composites industry remains one of the strongest components of North Carolina’s diverse manufacturing sector.

Bend Your Mind Around the Plastics Industry
Food processing in North Carolina is strong and growing, thanks to a ready workforce and a healthy business development landscape.

Grow your knowledge about Food Processing

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