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The MassBridge program will boost training opportunities for technicians and better meet the workforce needs of employers. The program’s key deliverable is the development of an integrated, statewide program that will provide a stackable set of training programs that will create connections from existing technician training programs to the skillsets that meet the demands of today’s manufacturing sector. The goal will be to develop a model that can be replicated nationally. The program will work with existing vocational programs, high schools, community colleges, and supporting universities, to connect and engage students to encourage them toward careers in Manufacturing USA technologies.

Convergent Photonics has been awarded a $2,581,109 grant from the Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative to support the development of an advanced manufacturing center in partnership with Western New England University (WNE). Called a “Lab for Education and Application Prototyping,” or LEAP, the lab will focus on product development, training, and research in integrated photonics, and will be the fourth lab of its kind in its state, according to a press release from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative.

To support the development of future photonics professionals, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Photonics Society, the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE), and the Optical Society (OSA) have each offered $75,000 to fund tuition for the first 15 students of a new photonics technician program. The 15-month program, which covers three academic semesters and a summer internship, will be launched in summer 2020 at Stonehill College and Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts, in collaboration with MIT’s Initiative for Knowledge and Innovation in Manufacturing, which leads the AIM Photonics Academy.

Photonics technology, harnessing light particles called photons, are in an increasing number of high-tech applications — from lidar in driverless cars to sensors, data centers, and high-speed communication. Now, three professional societies that have a strong focus on photonics — Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Photonics Society, the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE), and the Optical Society (OSA) — have each offered $75,000 to fund tuition for the first 15 students of a new photonics-technician program that Stonehill College and Bridgewater State University in southeastern Massachusetts will launch this summer, in collaboration with MIT’s Initiative for Knowledge and Innovation in Manufacturing, which leads the AIM Academy project, the education and workforce development initiative of the manufacturing institute AIM Photonics.

A January weeklong integrated photonics bootcamp, offered by MIT as part of its work with the manufacturing institute AIM Photonics, provided students with the opportunity to solve problems using lab equipment to test passive photonic chips, preparing them for challenges they could face on the job. The curriculum was built by professor Lionel Kimerling’s team. Kimerling is the founding director of the MIT Microphotonics Center.

The field of photonics — the use of light in everything from lasers to optic cables and its application in industries from healthcare to aviation to autonomous cars — is booming, and workers and regions who get in now will reap benefits for decades to come.
 
This science is poised to become an everyday necessity, and like transistors and processing chips, will pay enormous benefits to early adapters who have the workforce to pull in research and development, labs and manufacturing.
 
An argument can be made that the region south of Boston missed the computer and IT revolution that drove economic prosperity in the Route 128 corridor. That’s in part why the state’s $3.8 million grant for a new photonics training center and lab for this region located at Stonehill College and Bridgewater State University (BSU) is so crucial.

The U.S. Office of Naval Research’s Manufacturing Engineering Education Program awarded Thomas Lord Professor of Materials Science and Engineering Lionel Kimerling’s group, the MIT Education Arcade, and MIT’s Office of Open Learning a $5 million, three-year grant to develop multimedia online training modules around simulations of photonic integrated circuit components. Cloud computing data centers, self-driving cars, and medical diagnostic chips use these state-of-the-art chips. Kimerling is also education and workforce executive of AIM Photonics Institute, and as part of his work with AIM Photonics, he oversaw the development of simulation prototypes used in an MITx course this spring, enabling students to see how changes in photonic device design affect the propagation and confinement of light signals.  

Find more coverage from Clemson here.

Students in MIT's electrical engineering and computer science (EECS) course 3.155J/6.152J on micro/nano processing technology have been packaging the solar cells they fabricated at MIT.nano.

The new photonics lab, co-led by Bridgewater State University and Stonehill College, will join one at MIT and a collaborative project between Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Quinsigamond Community College.