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Solano Community College pioneers the Bachelor’s of Science in Manufacturing
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May 23, 2019

The first Solano College Biomanufacturing Bachelor’s degree graduates pose with the Solano College Board of Trustees

Solano College’s first Bachelor’s of Science in Biomanufacturing class strode across the graduation stage on May 23 and made California community college history. One of 15 colleges selected across the state to offer a Bachelor’s degree, Solano College’s May 2019 graduation ceremony represented the culmination of students’ four years of study: two years earning an Associate’s degree in Industrial Biotechnology, and two years completing the Biomanufacturing baccalaureate program.

In 2015 the California State legislature voted to allow some community colleges in California the opportunity to grant Bachelor’s degrees for the first time in state history.  After an extensive and competitive application process, Solano Community College was selected as one of the 15 colleges to pilot this program.  Solano College’s degree has a focus on biomanufacturing; it teaches the skills and knowledge required to enter the manufacturing sector of the biotechnology industry.  The program admitted its first class in August 2017 and they completed the program in May 2019.

The faculty of Solano College, along with their partner college MiraCosta College in Oceanside, California, worked with their industry advisory committees to design the curriculum.  The resulting curriculum consisted of equal parts technical knowledge and examination of quality/regulatory compliance.  The classes immersed students in bioprocessing engineering principles, control and monitoring of biomanufacturing processes,  Quality by Design in pharmaceutical manufacturing, Design of Experiments to optimize bioprocessing conditions, Six Sigma (yellow belt), Supply Chain (aligned with an Association for Supply Chain Management certificate), Quality (aligned with American Society for Quality certifications), and project management (aligned with a Project Management Institute certificate).

The launch of the program was co-incident with the opening of the Solano College $34 million biotechnology/science building in Vacaville, CA.   This building has four biomanufacturing suites:  a cell culture suite, a bioreactor suite, a protein recovery and purification suite, and a quality control laboratory.

The entire four years cost less than $10,000, enabling most of the students to graduate without debt.  Most of the students have interviewed for positions already, and half have received offers.  The graduates and their families celebrated at a double helix shaped patio in  another new science building on the main Solano College campus.  The second cohort of the program finished their first year, and the third cohort begins their journey in August.

For more information about the Solano College Bachelor’s of Science in Manufacturing program, contact Jim DeKloe at James.DeKloe@solano.edu