FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: August 25, 2011
Media Contact: Michelle Abaldo; email@example.com
Director of Institutional Advancement
Office: (772) 462-7265
Cell: (772) 519-1123
For General Information, contact the IRSC Call Center at 1-866-792-4772
INDIAN RIVER STATE COLLEGE AWARDED NSF GRANT
TO PLAN SOUTHEAST CENTER FOR PHOTONICS EDUCATION
Regional project will develop training for skilled workforceready for high-tech, high-wage jobs.
FORT PIERCE, FL (August 29, 2011) – Indian River State College (IRSC) has been awarded a prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technological Education Grant to plan a Southeast Regional Center for Optics and Photonics Education and Training that will create a pipeline of highly-skilled employees qualified for photonics careers. Funded by the $70,000 NSF grant, IRSC will lead a six-state initiative to develop a comprehensive plan outlining the workforce needs of the photonics industry and develop training strategies that meet those needs.
“Training in optics and photonics supports high technology companies, accelerates the creation of new jobs, and strengthens the economy,” said José Farinos, IRSC Dean of Advanced Technology. “IRSC has a proven track record of education in emerging technologies, collaboration with industry partners and placement of graduates in high-tech jobs. The College will utilize that experience as a foundation for the Regional Photonics Education and Training Center.”
The field of photonics encompasses technologies utilized in advanced medical instrumentation, semiconductor manufacturing, nanotechnology, micro-electromechanical systems, fiber-optic telecommunications, security and defense. Because of the specialized nature of this field, there is a growing demand for photonics technicians and updating of the existing workforce. A national survey conducted by the University of North Texas Survey Research Center in 2009 estimated a need for 1180 new photonics technicians annually through 2014.
IRSC will enlist representatives from photonics laboratories and companies to provide a current perspective on industry needs and build a coalition of colleges and universities that offer photonics training programs in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina and North Carolina. IRSC and its educational partners will develop training strategies and collaborate with photonics corporations. The initiative will build upon and localize the programs of OP-TEC, the National Center for Optics and Photonics Education, of which IRSC is an active member.
The findings of the planning initiative will be incorporated into a proposal to the National Science Foundation regarding establishment of the Regional Center.
IRSC has offered cutting-edge programs in photonics, optics and laser technologies for the past six years in the Kight Center for Emerging Technologies at the Main Campus in Fort Pierce. The College’s Photonics Institute was recognized with a National Innovation Award at the HI-TEC High Impact Technology Exchange Conference in 2008.
For more information, contact the Principal Investigator , Dr. Chrys Panayiotou at Indian River State College at firstname.lastname@example.org or (772) 462-7621.
Indian River state College is a comprehensive public state college serving over 32,000 students each year with full-service campuses in Fort Pierce, Okeechobee, Port St. Lucie, Stuart and Vero Beach, Florida. For more information, visit www.irsc.edu.
The National Science Foundation is an independent federal agency that funds approximately 20 percent of all federally supported basic research at U.S. colleges and universities. For more information, visit www.nsf.gov.