For over ten years, OP-TEC has forged a partnership with two-year colleges that teach lasers and optics technicians. Our mission is to increase the supply of well-educated photonics technicians by building and strengthening the capacity and quality of photonics education in these colleges. We continue to add more photonics programs at colleges but recently we have focused more on helping them to increase student enrollment and retention. I’m proud to say that the Optics and Photonics College Network (OPCN) is successful because we enjoy beneficial cooperation with technical professional societies, the recently created regional photonics centers LASER-TEC and MPEC, and the Western Photonics Cluster based at Irvine Valley College. Last month we released the monograph Using Current Photonics Students to Recruit New Students; six OPCN colleges are pilot testing this strategy and we plan to include a webinar on this topic at the next OPCN teleconference.
Some of the topics in this newsletter deal with the Photonics Systems Technician Skill Standard, OSA Travelling Lecturers, release of an NAE study on technicians, and several updates from our regional centers. If you have newsworthy items to share in the March newsletter please send them to us.