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STCC Develops Proposal for Cutting-Edge Photonics Factory

In partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s AIM Photonics Academy, Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) plans to create a state-of-the-art facility that would represent a step forward in the development of photonics manufacturing along the I-90 corridor from Boston to Rochester, N.Y.

Industry and educational leaders met at the technical school to discuss STCC’s proposal for a Photonics Education and Practice Factory.

MIT’s AIM Photonics Academy launched the first Education and Practice Factory this spring on their campus. The facility enables professors to incorporate integrated photonics manufacturing insights and laboratory lesson plans. Photonics companies can then use the factory to work with students on self-directed projects.

“As the only degree-granting optics and photonics technology program in New England, STCC is uniquely prepared to support the MIT AIM Photonics Academy in educating the next generation of highly skilled technicians for the emerging integrated photonics manufacturing industry,” said Nick Massa, department chair for Optics and Photonics Technology. “Both our students and the companies that hire them are very excited about this opportunity.”

The proposed STCC facility will include state-of-the-art photonics equipment for teaching integrated photonics manufacturing and testing. Additionally, the proposed facility would support the design and delivery of education and training programs to enhance the technical education and skills of students and employees within the manufacturing sector.

“A proposed facility like this must be planned and designed to evolve with the innovations, incorporating new technologies and training methods so that students are getting the best hands-on educations possible,” said Ira Moskowitz, director of advanced manufacturing programs at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. “There’s lots of potential given Springfield’s long manufacturing history and we are excited to see collaboration among the partners from around the Pioneer Valley to develop the concept.”

The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative is the state agency managing the Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative (M2I2) — a grant program that works with the Commonwealth’s academic, research and manufacturing sectors to support advanced manufacturing projects under the federal Manufacturing USA program.

Quinsigamond Community College and Worcester Polytechnic Institute, both based in Worcester, Mass., are planning the second Education and Practice Factory. The proposed STCC facility would be the third, while a fourth facility is being considered elsewhere along the I-90 corridor.

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