Austin Community College Bio-Link Regional Center (AC2) is a four year advanced technology education (ATE) center grant that will establish a distributed statewide leadership network focused on educational and industry based solutions using Communities of Practices (CoPs) as a methodology to effectively establish networks supporting growth in Biotechnology industries in Texas and Kentucky. In Texas, the leadership team is composed of Austin Community College, Collin County Community College in Dallas, and Del Mar College in Corpus Christi. The participating college in Kentucky is Bluegrass Community and Technical College, presently the only two year college in state educating biotechnicians.
The ACC Program was established in 1999 based on Bio-link practices and has leveraged Bio- Link to start the development of a statewide Bio-Link Network that continually includes new innovations discovered through the Bio-Link Network. The AC2 center will complete the development of the Texas Bio-Link Network and initiate the Kentucky Network. The range of educational participants in both states will include high schools, two-year colleges, four-year colleges and universities. Statewide industry partners will be recruited to help introduce students to the biosciences field, provide direction to educators related to needed content and skill development, contract with colleges to conduct contract services (CSO work), provide student internships and faculty externships, and to be sources of employment for graduates. State and local agencies will provide direction on how to best sustain these activities within the local and state infrastructure. By addressing workforce development in a collaborative environment, the networks will work in a coordinated and synergistic manner saving time, eliminate duplication, and operate consistently within industry standards. The final result should be a better prepared workforce ready to function in an industrial environment.