A modular industry-centered program for photonics and integrated photonics certification

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

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© 2019 SPIE. Although demand for photonic technology is rapidly growing, there is a shortage of qualified workers to fill the industrial positions being created. At present, most photonics programs are available only at the graduate level; of the few undergraduate programs that exist, most are four-year engineering degrees. There is an unmet need for programs that can rapidly prepare students with minimal preparation to work as technicians in the optics and photonics industry. We report on a collaboration among Stonehill College, Bridgewater State University, and AIM Photonics Academy of MIT to create a unique photonics technician training and certification program that could serve as a template for other colleges or for other educational and manufacturing partnerships. This program, prepared with input from industry, consists of a mix of online, classroom, and lab courses (including both real-world and virtual experiments), with emphasis on hands-on experiences and apprenticeships with local companies. It is designed to rapidly develop practical skills in students who either have no prior technical background or who desire to quickly move into photonics from another technical area. The curriculum development model is modular, easily adapted across manufacturing sectors, focusing on skills sought by industry partners, with mechanisms in place for periodic feedback from employers. A clearinghouse for instructional materials will be created to house course outlines, syllabi, and teaching strategies for use by other institutions. Additionally, the curriculum will be sustained by making it "stackable" with other modules, training programs, and certifications aimed at other manufacturing specializations.