There is some pretty promising news regarding opening doors to biotechnology education in Minnesota.

Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) and the University of Minnesota recently announced a new biotechnology partnership that will allow graduates of MCTC’s Biotechnology program with grade point averages of 3.5 or higher to enroll at the College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota, one of the University's most prestigious schools.

Already, seven MCTC students have taken advantage of the partnership. According to Rekha Ganaganur, MCTC’s biotechnology faculty leader, all seven of the students have research or internship experiences and some have even obtained jobs in the bioscience industry.

Ganaganur credits Robert Elde, dean of the University of Minnesota’s College of Biological Sciences, for his “vision.”

"Dean Elde knows Minnesotans want colleges to collaborate to enhance the biotechnology workforce of the future,” Ganaganur said, adding that she is grateful for members of LifeScience Alley, a trade group, for serving on the MCTC advisory group which made the partnership possible.

LifeScience Alley President and CEO Dale Wahlstrom said the partnership makes sense.

"Minnesota has earned its place in the medical device industry by nurturing scientists,” he said. “This partnership moves students between two strong academic programs to graduate studies or careers in Minnesota's famed bioscience sector.”

This is a strong example of support for students who, because of cost or grades or other life factors, start their academic careers at community colleges. Minnesota’s two-year schools are not just an end unto themselves, but often serve as a gateway to continuing higher education – even in an academically demanding field such as biotechnology.

"The partnership is a positive example of a collaborative effort that will help ensure a pathway for students to the top scientific careers in our state," said MCTC President Phil Davis. “I am extremely impressed with the caliber of students enrolled in our programs, and MCTC welcomes this as a way to encourage academic success.”