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Photonics Grants Awarded to Four Colleges

WACO, Texas, Jan. 8, 2014 — The chronic nationwide shortage of new photonics technicians has prompted the National Center for Optics and Photonics Education (OP-TEC) to provide grants to four US colleges, with the goal of attracting high school students to photonics-related associate degree programs.

A recent OP-TEC study found that two-year colleges are producing annually fewer than 300 graduates of photonics technician programs, a level well below the need. Supported by the National Science Foundation, the organization aims to build the capacity and strengthen the quality of photonics education in two-year institutions.

OP-TEC grants will be given to:

  • Cincinnati State Technical and Community College. CSTCC's laser program will use its grant to hire a recruiter and to host a three-day photonics institute for high school science and technology teachers this summer. The funds will also provide 10 portable photonics kits for teachers. 

  • Maui College, Kahului, Hawaii. The school will hire a recruiter to increase enrollment in its laser-related programs. Outreach services are planned for eight targeted high schools and their feeder middle schools throughout Maui. 

  • Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, Pa. The school will hire a recruiter to connect with local area high schools. IUP will also work with high schools to develop dual-credit courses and articulation agreements for the associate degree program.

  • Northwestern Michigan College, Traverse City, Mich. NMC will hire a recruiter for its engineering technology program. It will also provide scholarships to 11 high school seniors who enroll in the college’s dual-credit introductory photonics course in the fall. NMC will provide matching funds to purchase lab and safety equipment for the program. 

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Good to see the industry investing in itself. Each year we choose a cause to donate optical components towards. It typically is some sort of school program focused on optics. This year was a donation to a URI student doing research on sapphire and its durability in replacement joints for the human body. Jon Lavoie
1/13/2014 1:28:12 PM
- Guild Optical Associates

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