Dr. Randy Kirchain and his team have released their first workforce roadmap for the fiber and photonics industry. Roadmap findings are based on interviews and surveys of operations managers from more than 50 photonics firms from across the United States. Research focused on skills needs for the technician and middle-skilled workforce over the next 3-5 years. Specifically, respondents were asked to characterize demand, hiring challenges, and training gaps for most middle-skilled technical occupations and four selected lower-killed occupations (electronics assemblers, semiconductor processors, optical equipment operators, and ceramics equipment operators). Results indicate that there is strong and growing demand for technical workers in the US fiber optics and integrated photonics industry especially for photonics technicians, electrical/electronic engineering technicians, and computer-controlled (cnc) machine tools operators. Based on skills-related results, we see a clear need for photonics technicians to receive more extensive training on how to: fabricate and assemble optical systems, diagnose and resolve process or product problems, design and execute testing methods, and recommend design changes.
Dr. Kirchain also conducted extensive interviews with companies about their workers with master's and PhD degrees, to find out what additional training those workers needed to be successful in the field of integrated photonics manufacturing. You can learn about his findings in the below presentation.