DURHAM, N.C. — As big tech companies like Google announce layoffs, there is some good news for the Triangle. 


What You Need To Know

Eli Lilly announced $450 million investment to expand its facilty at RTP

The expansion will include 100 new jobs over the next five years

Durham Tech has a partnership with the pharmaceutical company

Students can earn the certificate on campus to work at Eli Lilly


The expansion by Eli Lilly will bring construction jobs and offer employment opportunities to many people, including Durham Technical Community College graduates. 

The pharmaceutical giant announced a $450 million investment to increase the size of its Research Triangle Park facility.

Durham Tech President J.B. Buxton is content about what lies ahead through his school's partnership with the company.

”For us, it just helps people understand that from an education and training perspective, the community college option gives them access to a good job immediately if that’s what they need,” Buxton said.

Buxton grew up in the northeast. He first moved to the state to attend the University of North Carolina a few decades ago. He feels at home on the campus of Durham Tech.

“I loved the state. I loved how in North Carolina you’re from the state. You are from the county. You are part of something bigger,” Buxton said.

The head of the two-year college now has something bigger for students pursuing careers in the life sciences industry.

“The great thing about this announcement is adding 100 jobs where 90% of them require either a BioWork certificate or a high school education, which means people have direct access to a great job,” he said.

According to Buxton, the BioWork certificate is a five-month training program that costs about $300 in tuition. This certificate is required for a job at Eli Lilly.

“It is a highly affordable, quick route into a good job in a good industry,” he said.

On his walk to lunch, he talked about how the course prepares graduates for bioprocessing, pharmaceutical and chemical manufacturing.

Important skills for entry-level positions he says can pay in the $40,000 range.

“The great thing about this is that it means we are a pathway to opportunity for individuals,” Buxton said.

There’s also a new Life Sciences Center in the works to give students on the BioWork track these skills.

Voters greenlit a nearly $113 million referendum in Durham County last fall for a community college bond.

He said inside those future classrooms is where the pipeline begins.

“They should see these jobs as accessible to them, and they should see themselves as having the talent or the ability to move into these jobs when they come to a place like Durham Tech,” he said.

County Commissioner Brenda Howerton said the greatest immediate benefit of this news is job creation.

More jobs mean more dollars funneling into the county economy from the tax base.

Buxton also said for those on the continuing education track can use the training offered there as a launchpad for their other educational dreams.

A school spokesperson confirmed project approval has been granted from the state construction office and has begun drafting the Request for Quote (RFQ) for the architects.

Construction on the buildings should begin in 2024.