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Merced College Partners With Community Colleges,
UC, And CSU To Form Education Consortium
In Photonics Technology

May 17, 2002

Merced College is responding to a critical need to prepare California’s workforce to meet the present and future scientific, technical, and industrial needs of the photonics industry.

Photonics is the technology of optics, lasers, imaging, fiber optics, electro-optics and optoelectronics which is rapidly becoming an integral part of everyday life in this country -- and the entire world.

Merced College has formed a consortium with community colleges, UC and CSU to address the shortage of workers. Other community colleges participating in the Consortium are Irvine Valley, Los Positas, San Jose City, and Yuba. UC Davis, CSU Chico, San Jose State and CSU Fresno will also be members of the Consortium.

Industries involved in the consortium are Laser and Electro-Optics Manufacturers Association (LEOMA); Lawrence Livermore Laboratory (LLL), Bolt Systems; and Silicon Valley Photonics.

“Photonics technology is the wave of the future,” said Mike Cuchna, Dean of Instruction at Merced College. “These careers are in great demand and with training and instruction students can start earning great salaries and work for leaders in education and industry.”

The goal of this Consortium is to formalize a collaborative effort in which the capabilities of each College District are utilized to promote photonics educational and training development opportunities. The College Districts will explore new opportunities to enhance the education and training of students in the area of photonics and associated coursework in science, technology, engineering, and the relevant technical guilds. Additionally, the consortium will work cooperatively with K-12 school districts, California State University campuses, the University of California, and the private sector to foster these efforts.

Among the primary objectives of this collaboration are to provide a forum for collaborative efforts in photonics education while evaluating the future scientific, technical and industrial workforce needs of California photonics industries and work together to identify innovative technical training internships for faculty and students as they prepare to meet the present and future scientific, technical, and industrial needs of California’s photonics industries.

“We want to explore ways of integrating photonics into high school curriculum and to promote cooperation with other educational institutions, the community, industry, industry organizations, and regional resources and programs,” concluded Cuchna.

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