SCC's Biotechnology Program Part of the Nebraska Fermentation Collaborative
The Southeast Community College Biotechnology program is one of the educational partners of Bio Nebraska’s Fermentation Collaborative. The Collaborative’s iHub application was accepted by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development to accelerate the development and promotion of the fermentation industry in the state.
“Fermentation is essential to several of Nebraska’s leading bioscience industries, including biofuels production, animal vaccine manufacturing, craft brewing, and more, and is the core of many companies in the state,” said Rob Owen, executive director of Bio Nebraska. “Fermentation training will help students ultimately qualify for high-wage careers right here at home, while supporting the continued development of companies who require fermentation experts as part of their workforce.”
The Collaborative is partnering with Nebraska’s junior and senior high schools, community colleges and colleges and universities to provide programming aimed at creating awareness as well as education and training opportunities to support the industry. Misty Wehling, co-chair of the SCC Biotechnology program, sees this partnership as an excellent opportunity to showcase a unique career opportunity in the fermentation industry.
“Southeast Community College’s Biotechnology program trains students to work in laboratory settings, including in precision fermentation, and is designed to continually adapt to industry needs,” Wehling said. “SCC is excited to be part of this effort to advance knowledge and awareness of this growing career area in Nebraska.”
The Collaborative’s headquarters is in Lincoln, Nebraska, and will be managed by Owen. The purpose is to grow the workforce, cultivate the entrepreneurship innovation fermentation ecosystem and sustain a vibrant fermentation industry. The Collaborative will include a steering committee and a private industry advisory board to ensure its goals and programming meet the unique needs of Nebraska companies.
“Nebraska has seen an increase recently in new tech startups utilizing fermentation processes including Synbiotic Health and Bluestem Biosciences,” said Dan Hoffman, CEO of Invest Nebraska. “By leveraging the state’s existing fermentation infrastructure, this iHub has the potential to increase R&D assets, expand human capital and generate innovative startups.”
As part of the Nebraska Innovation Hub Act passed by the Nebraska Legislature and signed into law by Governor Pete Ricketts in 2022, the Nebraska Department of Economic Development designates innovation hubs within iHub areas to stimulate partnerships, economic development, and job creation. Visit DED’s website to learn more about the Nebraska Innovation Hub Act and the 2023 designated iHub areas across Nebraska.