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Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow

Karen A. Newman, karen.newman@photonics.com

The nice thing about tomorrow is that it’s, well, always a day away, and it always brings a fresh set of opportunities to tackle and obstacles to overcome.

A perpetual challenge for this and many industries is finding trained and qualified employees to fill specialized jobs today and tomorrow. The good news is that a lot of hard work is going on to make sure there are well-qualified people to step into demanding technical positions, and a lot of people supporting those efforts:

• In early October, Schott North America announced the selection of nine apprentices for a pilot program at its Duryea, Pa., facility; the program offers young people a combination of practical experience and classroom training, based on the German apprenticeship model.

• Sydor Optics, a maker of custom optics in Rochester, N.Y., has a long history with nearby Monroe Community College. Its optical fabrication program has been an important pipeline of trained technicians for Bausch & Lomb, Kodak and Sydor Optics: James Sydor was himself a student in the program, and now he has committed to a generous donation to the program over the next five years, a partial match to a Corning grant expressly for the optics program.

• Many dedicated people are working to generate student interest in optics and photonics well before college. I attended Education Day during OSA’s Frontiers in Optics this year and saw demonstrations of projects aimed at introducing optics and photonics to students in grades as early as kindergarten.

Curious about who is training your future employees? I invite you to read our newest column – Workforce of Tomorrow – curated by two-time industry education honoree Judy Donnelly, longtime coordinator for the Laser and Fiber Optic Technology program at Three Rivers Community College in Norwich, Conn. In this issue, Judy answers 10 questions about her work as an educator and shares her thoughts on what it will take to build the workforce of tomorrow.

For more than 50 years, Laurin Publishing/Photonics Media have been an important industry education resource. Beginning in 1971, The Optical Industry and Systems Purchasing Directory – the precursor to our current Photonics Buyers’ Guide – included a dictionary and an Application Notes section, later The Photonics Handbook. For a number of years now, the handbook and dictionary have made their home online at Photonics.com. This month, we are officially relaunching web versions of these popular resources on a new site called EDU.Photonics.com. Our online dictionary – renamed Photonics Dictionary Plus – allows industry experts to update terms with, for example, new application information and to add links to resources such as videos and articles.

In its new format and with your help, the Dictionary Plus will continue to be the cutting-edge lexicon relied upon by thousands throughout the industry – and the industry of tomorrow!


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