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Virginia Western Community College Launching Biotechnology Degree Program

Virginia Western Community College is launching a new degree program in response to a fast-growing industry in the region. Beginning with the fall 2023 semester, students will be able to complete a two-year degree in biotechnology and begin to build a pipeline of qualified workers.

“We’re really building a spectrum of opportunities for our STEM students,” said Amy White, Dean of the College’s School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. “Adding this program creates another pathway to a solid, lucrative industry that keeps our students here locally and gives them the skills to be successful wherever they land.”

Biotechnology classes and a career studies certificate are currently available at Virginia Western. With an associate degree in biotechnology, students can either transfer to a four-year school or they will be job-ready for entry-level laboratory positions, which typically pay $24 an hour.

Biotechnology jobs are available across many industries including pharmaceutical, environmental, breweries, agriculture and research and development. The biotechnology field is growing so rapidly, more industries will likely be job feeders in the next decade.

“As commercialized biotech and life sciences grow in the region, Virginia Western Community College has been committed to developing new programs to meet the demand for additional employees in this emerging sector,” said Erin Burcham, Executive Director of RBTC and President of Verge.

“From their labs to their faculty, Virginia Western Community College is a true asset in our region. Amy White and her team are focused on preparing students to be ready for our ever-changing economy.”

“Our goal with this program is to prepare students with the right skillset so that they can be successful and fill the jobs that don’t even exist today,” White said. “We’re essentially putting together the ecosystem by supporting innovation and entrepreneurship and growing the industry as a whole.”

The goal is to have 12 students in the program the first year. Maintaining smaller class sizes for biotechnology is ideal due to the hands-on laboratory work required. Biology professor Heather Lindberg is the new head of the biotechnology degree program.

Virginia Western is currently reaching out to local K-12 teachers to make them aware of biotechnology learning opportunities at the College in order to build interest in the upcoming degree program.

“We are committed to creating a pathway for students and making sure they are getting an early exposure to the educational programs and the career opportunities right here in our area,” Lindberg said.

This summer, teachers are invited to STAT 22, a program on campus designed to advance their knowledge of biotechnology so they can then incorporate biotechnology into their STEM curriculum and introduce elementary and secondary students to biotechnology learning and career opportunities. The event is free to teachers, and they can earn professional development credits. Contact Heather Lindberg at hlindberg@virginiawestern.edu for more information.

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Verge Job Opening: Financial & Administrative Coordinator

Part-time position (25 – 30 hours per week)

Verge is a collaborative strategic alliance established to grow the region’s innovation economy, technology, and life sciences sectors, and the supporting professional communities. Considering future growth opportunities, Valleys Innovation Council, an alliance member of Verge, is seeking a Financial and Administrative Coordinator to support its operating procedures, financial grant reporting, future budget planning efforts, and to help strategize operational efficiencies, based on their analysis. This role will include supporting the Verge team on broader projects and duties, like:

  • Works with bookkeepers to properly track expenditures/transactions across all grants and projects
  • Maintains proper financial documentation of expenses and revenue of our vendors, contributors, and sponsors
  • Supports monthly reconciliation process of banking and checking statements by maintaining proper documentation
  • Supports leadership with financial planning and personnel commitments required on each grant/project
  • Works with the Grants Manager to support financial elements on grant reports and remittances
  • Provides financial data and information to support the annual budget(s)
  • Offers financial forecasting/projections and grant budget planning to optimize funds
  • Prepares financial reports and administrative support on future grant funding opportunities and other sources of revenue
  • Supports the annual audit and annual form renewals
  • Serves as the customer service liaison and building manager at the Gill Memorial Building in Roanoke for RAMP vendors and tenants, including lease and vendor contract management
  • Manage communications through Verge/VIC websites, social media (LinkedIn), and newsletter coordination

Qualifications/Education/Experience

  • Bachelor’s Degree in finance or business or a related field.
  • Grant experience and management preferred on cross-functional projects.
  • Experience in Microsoft Excel to effectively analyze financial information, budget plan, and make forecasts.
  • Working knowledge of project management tools and shared drives.
  • Experience working with coalitions, tech industry, and/or non-profits is preferred.
  • Ability to manage multiple projects to meet deadlines and prioritize deliverables.
  • Experience working in a fast-paced team-oriented environment.
  • Must be energetic and self-motivated, with the ability to multi-task and easily adapt to change.
  • Must have excellent communication, problem solving and analytical skills.
  • Must have excellent organization, planning and time management abilities.

About Verge

Verge is a collaborative strategic alliance established to grow the region’s innovation economy, technology, and life sciences sectors, and the supporting professional communities. It aligns the strengths and programming efforts of the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council (RBTC), the Regional Accelerator and Mentoring Program (RAMP), and Valleys Innovation Council (VIC). Verge serves GO Virginia Region 2 and works to form collaborations with government, business, academia, and other organizations to advance the region and grow a thriving innovation economy.

Email cover letter and resume to erin.burcham@rbtc.tech.

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Verge Job Opening: Director of Programs

Verge, part of the RBTC collaborative alliance, is poised to grow significantly this year and in the future with multiple grant proposals and funding requests in the pipeline. The key to our success is largely dependent on the stellar ability of our program management team. We’re currently searching for an experienced director of programs to join our passionate team.

The Director of Programs will work in tandem with the Verge president and in collaboration with the entire Verge team to manage cross-functional projects. The ideal candidate will have a sharp business mind and a proven ability to strategize and implement high-level program initiatives. As a natural-born leader, you will have a strong talent for project coordination and delegation. Ultimately, you are motivated by the desire to optimize productivity and nurture program success from inception to completion. The Director of Programs will work with the team to understand deadlines, stakeholders, and deliverables to create project plans, identify and manage risk and change management while maintaining clear project status at all times.

Essential Functions:

  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with team members, project sponsors, stakeholders and other project managers to develop project charters that define project scope, deliverables, resources, budgets and timing.
  • Leadership qualifications to include developing, leading, mentoring, and setting goals for each member of his/her team.
  • Identify project risks and mitigation plans
  • Manage project scope and work with the appropriate project teams to ensure problems are resolved in a timely manner.
  • Function as a liaison between coalitions and team members working through challenges and issues as they arise.
  • Mentors members of the organization on the principles and practice of project management.
  • Work with the appropriate project teams to ensure problems are resolved in a timely manner
  • Clearly communicate expectations, milestones, risks, status and changes in scope to team members, coalition members and project sponsors.  Track and provide regular status reports on project milestones and key project metrics.
  • Complete post-project evaluations to determine how well results were achieved and if adjustments to processes are needed.
  • Support reporting and analysis of grant results.
  •  Perform other duties as assigned.

Qualifications/Education/Experience:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in business, communications, finance or related field.
  • Current PMP certification is preferred.
  • Five to eight years of work experience managing strategic cross-functional projects.
  • Working knowledge of project management tools.
  • Experience in the technology industry desired.
  • Grant writing and/or management preferred.
  • Ability to manage multiple projects while working under time constraints and rapidly changing priorities.
  • Experience working in a fast-paced team-oriented environment.
  • Must be highly energetic, self-directed and self-motivated with the ability to multi-task and easily adapt to change.
  • Must have excellent communication, leadership, problem solving and analytical skills.
  • Must have excellent organization, planning and time management abilities.
  • Demonstrated experience leading people and getting results in a matrixed environment
  • Ability to think and plan strategically for organizational success.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills.

About Verge:

Verge is a collaborative strategic alliance established to grow the region’s innovation economy, technology, and life sciences sectors, and the supporting professional communities. It aligns the strengths and programming efforts of the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council (RBTC), the Regional Accelerator and Mentoring Program (RAMP), and Valleys Innovation Council (VIC). Verge serves GO Virginia Region 2 and works to form collaborations with government, business, academia, and other organizations to advance the region and grow a thriving innovation economy.

Email cover letter and resume to erin.burcham@rbtc.tech.

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