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ATE Centers Image 9
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ATE Centers (Image 9)

July 26, 2010
Photonics technicians build, test, use and maintain lasers for a broad range of laboratory, industrial and biomedical settings. The National Center for Optics and Photonics Education (OP-TEC) seeks to increase the supply of well-educated photonics technicians by building and strengthening the capacity and quality of photonics education in U.S. two-year colleges. [Image 9 of 12 related images. See Image 10.] (Date of Image: 2009)

More about this Image OP-TEC is a consortium of two-year colleges, high schools, universities, national laboratories, industry partners and professional societies funded by the National Science Foundation's Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program (DUE 06-03275). The partners have joined forces to create a secondary-to-postsecondary "pipeline" of highly qualified and strongly motivated students, empowering high schools and community colleges to meet the urgent need for technicians in optics and photonics.

OP-TEC serves secondary science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs and postsecondary programs devoted to lasers, optics and photonics technology or technologies enabled by optics and photonics. In addition, OP-TEC provides support through curriculum, instructional materials, assessment, faculty development, recruiting and support for institutional reform, and serves as a national clearinghouse for teaching materials; encourages more schools and colleges to offer programs, courses and career information; and helps high-school teachers and community and technical college faculty members to develop programs and labs to teach technical content. OP-TEC is headquartered at CORD, the Center for Occupational Research and Development in Waco, Texas. To learn more, visit the center's Web site Here.

NSF's ATE program supports efforts to improve the knowledge and skills of technicians who work in high-technology fields that drive the nation's economy. The program focuses on undergraduates, secondary school students and incumbent technicians, as well as on the educators who teach them. Community colleges are the main providers of education for technicians and have leadership roles in all ATE initiatives, working closely with industry, government and educators in other sectors to enhance the skills of the men and women who are essential to the vitality of the nation's economy. ATE partnerships help create new curricula; reform existing programs; enrich the technical knowledge of experienced college faculty members and teachers; prepare prospective educators with solid foundations in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); and undertake applied research on technological education. Further information on NSF's ATE Program is available Here.


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