The global optics, photonics, and imaging industry is large and growing fast. This, coupled with industry reports that 20% of experienced technicians and engineers are approaching retirement, is creating even greater need for skilled optics and photonics technicians. Seventy-five percent of Upstate New York's skilled optics technician job openings go unfilled annually due to an insufficient number of optics and photonics graduates. Well-trained students require an updated curriculum, a variety of course delivery models, and state-of-the-art laboratory resources. Monroe Community College (MCC) will educate diverse optics and photonics technicians with the skills to meet workforce needs. The Optics & Photonics Technology INnovation-OPT IN! project will also provide professional development, strengthen industry partnerships, and broaden community awareness of educational and employment opportunities in the fields of optics and photonics.
The Optics & Photonics Technology INnovation-OPT IN! program will strengthen the global optics and photonics workforce and provide students with employment opportunities in regional industries to fill high skill, high demand positions. This ATE project has two overarching goals: 1) To strengthen the Optical Systems Technology program at Monroe Community College and academic pipeline through the creation of enriched curriculum, dual enrollment opportunities, articulation agreements with four-year universities, and faculty professional development; and 2) To broaden industry and community partnerships through expansion of experiential learning opportunities, and development of marketing and outreach initiatives to strengthen the regional optics and photonics network. The Optics & Photonics Technology INnovation-OPT IN! program will bridge the gaps among high schools, Monroe Community College's (MCC) academic programs, and the regional optics and photonics industry. It will create new courses and revise existing courses with curriculum that meets the necessary skills and competencies as identified by industry partners. OPT IN! will provide professional development to high school teachers and MCC faculty. It will broaden awareness of opportunities in optics and photonics education and the labor market by developing an outreach program and conducting presentations to the general public and targeted audiences, including low income and underrepresented racial and ethnic populations, veterans and women. OPT IN! will strengthen alliances within and across the optics and photonics network, pre-collegiate educators and four-year universities, and industry partners. This program will impact 850 high school and college students including underrepresented groups and will provide professional development to twelve high school teachers and six MCC faculty.
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