New training center for lasers and fiber optics established in Florida

Aug. 7, 2013
Fort Pierce, FL--The Lasers and Fiber Optics Regional Center will be established at the Indian River State College (IRSC) to help meet the national need for skilled laser and fiber optics technicians.

Fort Pierce, FL--The Lasers and Fiber Optics Regional Center will be established at the Indian River State College (IRSC) to help meet the national need for skilled laser and fiber optics (LFO) technicians. Using a $2.9 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) the IRSC will partner with a network of ten colleges and more than 253 companies in a regional initiative to develop and deliver training throughout the Southeast.

Workforce projections identify a national need for over 1500 LFO technicians, while the present output of U.S. colleges is about 350 each year. IRSC has a record of training laser and fiber optics technicians, graduating 126 LFO technicians since 2005 and operating the Photonics Institute, which provides training in technologies applicable to biomedicine, life sciences, remote sensing, and information technology.

For the past eight years, the College has been a partner of OP-TEC, the NSF/ATE National Center for Optics and Photonics Education in the development of training modules in optical imaging and solar energy technology. IRSC is also collaborating with Corning Fiber Optical Systems for training in the latest fiber optic technologies.

Goals of the new Center will include evaluating the industry’s training needs, creating an Industrial Advisory Board, identifying LFO specializations at each partner college, developing training programs, outreach to middle and high school STEM teachers, and recruiting veterans and minorities for training. The Laser and Fiber Optic Center will be based at the IRSC Brown Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Main Campus in Fort Pierce.

For more information, contact Chrys Panayiotou, Principal Investigator of the Lasers and Fiber Optics Center and IRSC Professor of Electrical Engineering, at [email protected].

About the Author

Conard Holton | Editor at Large

Conard Holton has 25 years of science and technology editing and writing experience. He was formerly a staff member and consultant for government agencies such as the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the International Atomic Energy Agency, and engineering companies such as Bechtel. He joined Laser Focus World in 1997 as senior editor, becoming editor in chief of WDM Solutions, which he founded in 1999. In 2003 he joined Vision Systems Design as editor in chief, while continuing as contributing editor at Laser Focus World. Conard became editor in chief of Laser Focus World in August 2011, a role in which he served through August 2018. He then served as Editor at Large for Laser Focus World and Co-Chair of the Lasers & Photonics Marketplace Seminar from August 2018 through January 2022. He received his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, with additional studies at the Colorado School of Mines and Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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