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NC Back–to–Work Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the scholarship?

The scholarship supports the stateís back-to-work initiative. The funds go toward tuition and supplies to help provide job training for the underemployed and unemployed. The grant funds target training in programs that lead to third-party, industry-recognized credentials that are valued in the local economy and make individuals more marketable in the workforce.

What is included in the scholarship?

For students who enroll in the program, the NC Back-to-Work process will include assessment, HRD/Workforce Development employability skills, Career Readiness Certificate, career coaching and exploration, skills gap training, and job referral services. All students who successfully complete the program receive program completion certificates, as well as the Career Readiness Certificate and their program-specific stackable credentials. Durham Techís goal is to help individuals obtain marketable credentials that may lead to sustainable employment and new careers.

Who can apply?

Any North Carolina resident who has a high school diploma or GED and meets one of the following criteria is eligible to apply:

  • Unemployed.
  • Underemployed (working at a position that earns significantly less than previous position earned).
  • Eligible for federal Earned Income Tax Credit or earns 200 percent of federal poverty level (review the guidelines).

How do I apply?

Complete the application form and eligibility statement. Submit the forms by fax, mail, or in person at any Durham Tech location. When your completed paperwork is received, you will be contacted by the Back-to-Work career coach to schedule a meeting.

What costs are covered?

  • Tuition and fees for the HRD programís Hiring Credentials that Work course.
  • Costs of the WorkKeys assessments.
  • Tuition, books, certification fees, and supplies for either Certified Production Tech (CPT) course OR BioWork PLUS course.

What if I am collecting unemployment? How will this affect my benefits?

All training must be commission-approved training to maintain eligibility for benefits. If you are enrolled in the program, Durham Tech will work with the Division of Workforce Solutions (formerly ESC) to ensure your benefits are not affected as long as you are progressing in the training program.

What if my unemployment benefits have run out or run out before training is complete? Is there a stipend for attending training?

You will not be eligible for extended benefits, but classes will be held at times that allow you to work a part-time or full-time position while in training. No stipend is available for this training program.

Will there be job placement assistance?

Working with the career coach and Division of Workforce Solutions, you will have job search assistance through our community partnerships.

If I decide not to pursue the scholarship-funded opportunities, is there anything available for me?

The Hiring Credentials that Work course offers many pathways to short-term credentials and certificate programs that are in demand in the local labor market. In addition, other funding opportunities are showcased, including Workforce Investment Act funding (WIA), Pell Grants, Durham Connect Funds, SECU Non Credit scholarships, and Project SkillUp scholarships.

During the HRD class, the Back-to-Work career coach helps you explore the right career options for you based on your individual interests, skills, and talents, as well as the needs of the local labor market.

What are the courses covered by the scholarship?

Certified Production Technician (CPT): The Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) is an industry-led training, assessment, and certification system focused on the core skills and knowledge needed by the nationís front-line production and material-handling workers. The CPT Certification addresses the core technical competencies of higher-skilled production workers in all sectors of manufacturing. MSSC awards certificates to individuals who pass any of its Production Modules:

  • Safety
  • Quality Practices & Measurement
  • Manufacturing Processes & Production
  • Maintenance Awareness

A full Certified Production Technician (CPT) Certification is awarded to those who pass all four modules. This course, including four modules and assessments, is scheduled for 160 hours.

BioWork PLUS: The BioWork PLUS Certification course brings together the basics of manufacturing technology and the fundamentals of science ó two essential needs for competent, entry-level technicians working in biotechnology, pharmaceutical manufacturing, and chemical manufacturing. The course includes nine modules in BioWork, six modules in GMP, and three modules in aseptic manufacturing with topics such as measurements, chemistry, biology, metric systems, safety, GMP, sterile processes, process control, nuts and bolts, and gowning. This course, including 18 modules and exams at the end of each unit, is scheduled for 228 hours.

What is the schedule for the classes?

The first course, Hiring Credentials that Work, begins January 9, 2014. Certified Production Tech (CPT) andBioWork PLUS courses take six months to complete. Certified Production Tech (CPT) classes meet Thursday evenings (5–9 p.m.) and Saturday mornings (9 a.m.–1 p.m.). BioWork PLUS has two offerings: day classes meet Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m.–1 p.m.; evening classes meet Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and some Wednesdays from 6–10 p.m.

How many students will be accepted into the program?

Hiring Credentials that Work is the introduction course to the grant programming and can hold a maximum of 22 students per class. A maximum of 16 students will be enrolled in the Certified Production Technician program. A maximum of 12 students will be enrolled in each BioWork PLUS program.

What is the CRC and why is it included?

The CRC is the national Career Readiness Certificate, a credential that proves to employers that you have the foundational skills to succeed in the workplace. Students take a series of three assessments (reading for information, locating information, and applied mathematics) and must score at least a Level Three on all assessments to earn a bronze-level certificate. A silver-level certificate is required for entry into the CPT and BioWork PLUS programs.

View more information on test preparation classes, practice questions, and how the CRC will improve your job search toolkit.

What if my background has barriers to employment?

The career coach works with you to determine which pathways will provide the most opportunities based on your interests, skills, and values, as well as the needs of the local labor market.

What are the potential jobs that may be available at the completion of the training?

The number of positions you can apply for with your BioWork PLUS or CPT credential has increased over the years.

For BioWork PLUS participants, positions include: bioprocess manufacturing technician; aseptic manufacturing technician; formulation and fill technician; packaging technician; process technician; manufacturing associate; and chemical equipment operator.

Certified production technicians (CPT) can be employed as assemblers, machine operators, production technicians, and process technicians. A complete listing of occupations is available at

What is the average entry-level salary for employees in the fields covered by this scholarship?

Successful program completers may be eligible for salaries between $12-$18 per hour, depending on the company, position, experience, and education.

Positions in this field may require:

  • Ability to sit or stand for 12 hours at a time.
  • Flexibility to work night or day shifts and weekends.
  • Basic computer and math skills.
  • Ability to lift up to 30 pounds.
  • Reliable transportation.
  • Good communication skills, both written and oral.
  • Ability to read and write effectively.
  • Comfort working around chemicals.
  • Ability to multitask and be detail-oriented.

Do these courses provide college credit?

At this time, there is not an articulation agreement in place to provide college credit for these noncredit classes.

Steps to apply: