You can earn a four-year degree in biomanufacturing at a community college
Ventura County Community College District universities do a great job preparing students for rewarding careers that meet the needs of our local industrial workers. Moorpark, Oxnard and Ventura Universities actively work with our professional education program advisory boards to meet the changing needs of the industry to enable students to earn a relevant associate degree and begin their careers or transfer to a university in four years.
Moorpark College’s working partners told us that the local biotech industry has an unmet need for well-trained staff in their production teams. We quickly found a solution to meet this growing need for workers and allow the local biotech industry to thrive and grow: Moorpark College’s new biomanufacturing degree.
By way of background, in 2014 then-Governor Jerry Brown authorized the Board of Governors of California Community Colleges to establish a statewide pilot licensing program. In 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom authorized the Board of Governors to expand and extend the pilot degree program indefinitely, launching up to 30 undergraduate programs annually.
Moorpark College’s Bachelor of Science in Biomanufacturing is part of the extension of the undergraduate program. Ventura College and Oxnard College are also exploring degree programs to meet the needs of students and industry in Ventura County.
Our program builds on the successful associate’s degree in biotechnology offered on our campus and is ideal for students who want to further improve their skills and stay local.
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Moorpark College is a Spanish language institution and this degree will help diversify our local workforce by removing barriers and creating opportunities for low-income and minority individuals, women and recent immigrants. It will provide access to careers that create wealth, not just a living wage, and wages that lift students out of poverty into solid, professional, middle-class jobs.
Annual growth in regional employment in the biotechnology industry is estimated at 8.1%. Comparing the median annual salary in Ventura/Los Angeles County for students with an associate’s degree in biotechnology can be as high as $52,000 and as high as $84,000 with a bachelor’s degree in biomanufacturing.
Moorpark College’s associate degree program in biotechnology has already closed the equity gap between white and Hispanic students; the gap has narrowed for black students compared to other disciplines.
This exciting new four-year program is scheduled to begin accepting students in the Fall 2024 semester and is the first of its kind in Ventura County. It was developed in consultation with CSU and UC faculty to ensure there is no duplication or competition and that Moorpark College’s degree is unique in our area. However, the CSU university senate is now expressing concerns about doubling our program.
This is unfounded as biomanufacturing degrees focus on the biology and chemistry of the product and its mechanisms of action. Our undergraduate degree focuses on understanding the process and how companies can produce a product of sufficient and consistent quality. Our graduates can earn positions as production workers, quality technicians and quality control managers.
Employer support for the development of our four-year degree was evident in the 15 letters from our partners confirming the creation of the program included in our program proposal. Employers expressed the need for employees with a stronger theoretical understanding of biological manufacturing, individuals who are highly trained to implement corrective actions on the factory floor and in the production laboratory, and who can assess and resolve problems quickly and independently.
Through Moorpark College’s well-established track record of providing a highly qualified stream of industry-standard interns and trainees, we serve the needs of our key corporate partners.
We have also discovered a phenomenon where people with biology degrees return to our university to acquire the technical skills needed to excel in the biomanufacturing field. The applied career in organic manufacturing responds to this local need.
Community colleges provide quality education where people live and work. Our bachelor’s degree supports students who are restricted by their place of residence and are unable to uproot their families or afford the housing and transportation costs associated with transferring to a university.
The primary mission of Moorpark College is to serve our students. In our goal to serve students in a changing environment, Moorpark, Ventura and Oxnard Universities innovate and adapt to ensure future student success.
Offering a bachelor’s degree in biomanufacturing is about students, equity and meeting the needs of the industry. With this significant investment in biotechnology in Ventura County, Moorpark College continues to raise the bar by providing educational opportunities that meet the needs of our community.
Julius Sokenu, Ed.D., is President of Moorpark College. To learn more about Moorpark College and your new biomanufacturing degree, visit MoorparkCollege.edu.