University Economic Development Association


JMU/BRCC/Merck Public Private Partnership in Workforce Development

Award Category: Innovation
Submitted By: James Madison University
Program Info: Learn More


James Madison University (JMU) and Blue Ridge Community College (BRCC) are collaborating with global pharmaceutical manufacturer Merck & Co. (Merck) to address Merck’s short- and long-term workforce needs through the development of a custom workforce solution. BRCC and JMU will establish a pipeline of biotechnology engineering and computer science talent that will allow the Shenandoah Valley to accommodate the future growth of Merck and other life science industries and manufacturers in their region.

What makes this project unique is both the relationship between the community college and university — stratifying efforts to meet the manufacturer’s needs—and the joint hire of a Regional Manufacturing Liaison (RML) between higher education and industry. Internship and externship programs were also created to further enhance the relationship between the institutions of higher education and the manufacturer. To date, Merck has employed 41 interns from JMU and BRCC and hired 33 JMU and BRCC graduates in either full-time or contract positions.

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