Florida boosts laser training for national technician demand

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The National Science Foundation has awarded a $2.9 million grant to Florida's Indian River State College to establish a lasers and fibre optics regional centre.

The Indian River State College (IRSC)centre is to train people to help the US meet the needs of its industry for skilled laser and fibre optics  technicians.  Workforce projections identify a national need for over 1,500 of these technicians, while the output of US colleges is about 350 each year.  In partnership with a network of ten colleges and more than 253 companies, IRSC will lead the regional initiative to develop and deliver training in lasers and fibre optics throughout the Southeast of the United States.   

‘There is an urgent need to ramp up the production of laser and fibre optics technicians to satisfy the high demand, maintain our world leadership and create high-paying jobs. The Lasers and Fiber Optics Regional Center will serve as a model of best practices for training programs throughout the Southeast to create a pipeline of highly-skilled technicians,’ said Dr Edwin R. Massey, IRSC President.

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.  The IRSC also operates a Photonics Institute that provides training in technologies applicable to biomedicine, life sciences, remote sensing, and information technology.