DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Lissy Lagos started attending Durham Tech not so long ago. She's already had internships and is completing an apprenticeship, which is helping her two-fold.
"Me, as a first-generation student coming straight out of high school, I didn't know what I wanted to do, but I knew I didn't want to be in debt," said Lagos.
She's taking advantage of the RTP Bio program. It trains students to seamlessly start working in the life science field as they're going to school.
"It's kind of cool that I'm working full-time and I'm getting my tuition paid for. (It) is something that I never thought would happen in a million years to me," said Lagos.
Wake Tech and Durham Tech are partnering up for the initiative.
The program just received a $1.2 million boost in federal funding.
"(It's an) absolutely critical selling point for our region, to attract business, that we have this workforce ready to go," said Congressman David Price.
The collaboration is designed to address the emerging demand.
The Triangle accounts for more than 60% of all life science jobs in the state.
The investments in RTP keep coming.
FujiFilm and Jaguar Gene Therapy are some of the newer companies setting up.
"Only just a few weeks ago, LinkedIn named the Research Triangle region, Durham and Wake counties and the surrounding counties the third-best opportunity region in our nations," said Wake Tech President Dr. Scott Ralls.
Durham Tech President J.B. Buxton added, "The question is how we connect these people to great jobs and connect our employers to great regional talent."
Lagos said she feels the program is giving her a leg up and offering flexibility to try out different companies.
She said, "There's always a choice to grow, which is pretty impressive."
The collaboration allows students to bounce between both campuses and customize their coursework.