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.
For more information, visit: www.op-tec.org