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BRAC grant will help HCC develop InnovaBio-MD program

December 16, 2009

Hagerstown Community College has received one of 12 BRAC Higher Education grants. The grant, made available through legislation passed by the Maryland General Assembly in 2008, will help HCC develop the InnovaBio-MD program, an innovative internship program in collaboration with Fort Detrick research agencies that involves students in actual research projects on the HCC campus, according to a release from the college.

InnovaBio-MD is a state-of-the-art biotechnology laboratory housed in the Technical Innovation Center at HCC. The program, modeled after a program at Salt Lake Community College, trains students for technician positions in the biotechnology industry or research.

Start-up funding for InnovaBio-MD came from a 2009 BRAC grant, which in part supported a part-time director who contracted the projects from Fort Detrick and piloted the internship program with students in the fall semester.

Equipment for the facility was funded as part of a three-year National Science Foundation grant.

The 2010 BRAC grant will fund materials for student use in InnovaBio-MD projects and supports the implementation of a full-time applied research program in which 20 students from both the college and local high schools will work under the direction of Ricky Ulrich. The students will develop biotechnology skills that are needed for the Fort Detrick scientific work force.

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The 2005 decisions by the Commission on Base Realignment and Closure are expected to result in the creation of as many as 60,000 new jobs across Maryland, including jobs in communications, intelligence and other high-skilled fields. In 2008, the General Assembly passed an administration bill that funds the BRAC Higher Education Grant program. This is the second year grants have been awarded to colleges and universities across the state.

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