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HCC Northeast to Offer Photonics Program

Photonics.com
May 2013
HOUSTON, May 15, 2013 — To help meet workforce demands in the field of photonics, Houston Community College Northeast has partnered with the National Center for Optics and Photonics Education (OP-TEC) to offer a photonics program that will be infused into its Electronics Engineering Technology associate degree.

The demand in the photonics industry is rapidly increasing as communications industries replace copper cabling with fiber optics and uses for laser technology expands. However, companies are struggling to find people who are qualified to work in the field. Starting salaries for photonics technicians can range from $40,000 to $50,000 depending on education and prior work experience.

“It is critically important that we endeavor to provide current and relevant educational opportunities, and I am delighted that our students will now have a pathway to gain skills in this emerging field,” said Dr. Margaret Ford Fisher, president of HCC Northeast who sought to bring the program to the institution upon learning about the career opportunities photonics offers.


HCC Northeast President Dr. Margaret Ford Fisher, OP-TEC Executive Director Daniel Hull and HCC Trustee Bruce Austin. Courtesy of HCC Northeast.

She added that the new program will further build upon the solid foundation of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) offerings in the division of science and engineering technologies (DSET) at HCC Northeast.

“Over 10 years ago, we recognized the growing need for highly trained STEM technicians and immediately partnered with industry leaders to develop pathways to meet the demand,” Ford Fisher said. “We have been innovative in implementing career programs that include process, petroleum and chemical engineering technologies, biotechnology, drafting and design, biomedical electronics and renewable energy. This new opportunity will continue to offer the community a chance to train for careers that meet the demands of future.”

The partnership is the result of a STEM education forum hosted by Ford Fisher, which featured OP-TEC Executive Director Daniel Hull. The forum brought together high school and college leaders, industry advisory members and community partners to discuss the challenges and opportunities in STEM education. At the event, Hull spotlighted Ford Fisher’s leadership in bringing STEM workforce programs to the Northeast service area, and discussed the need to create more associate of arts degree curricula for STEM technicians in high-demand areas like photonics.

Prerequisite course work will be offered through DSET in the fall, with photonic course work being added in the spring semester of 2014.

For more information, visit: http://northeast.hccs.edu 


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