Laser and Fiber Optics Regional Center
Fort Pierce, FL
Principal Investigator (PI)
LASER-TEC Leads Laser & Fiber Optics Education
Programs in Southeastern US
LASER-TEC anchors a broad educational infrastructure in the Southeast to enhance and promote careers in lasers and fiber optics. The center and its partner colleges offer degree and workforce programs, as well as professional development for educators.
LASER-TEC also publishes and distributes the textbook Fundamentals of Fiber Optics. LASER-TEC makes this free textbook available through colleges to reduce fiber optics students’ expenses.
During 2014-15, LASER-TEC’s second year of operation, its partner colleges graduated 62 students with associate’s degrees in lasers and fiber optics or in photonics-related fields. Many of these graduates had multiple employment offers with starting annual salaries ranging from $35,000 to $47,000.
LASER-TEC Recruits Students
Recruiting students to laser and fiber optics careers involves LASER-TEC in efforts to inform the general public, and key audiences, such as teachers, about the important role of lasers and light-based technologies in many 21st century innovations. Laser additive manufacturing, for instance, has enabled the creation of metal parts that were previously not possible for the aerospace, automotive, and medical industries. Lidar, a remote-sensing technology, and other optical technologies enable drones, self-driving vehicles, and an array of transportation innovations.
LASER-TEC Serves Incumbent Technicians
Since 2014, LASER-TEC has educated more than 100 incumbent technicians from 25 different companies, organizations, local utilities, and academic institutions. Industry’s remarkable support of LASER-TEC includes more than $100,000 in equipment and more than $10,000 of in-kind contributions.
LASER-TEC Informs Teachers
LASER-TEC hosts free one-day STEM workshops to help K-12 teachers learn how to integrate light and optics lessons into existing curricula.
LASER-TEC also helps teachers through its partnership with Corning Optical Communications. The company’s Fiber IQ program added 12 faculty members thanks to LASER-TEC. The educators’ colleges may now purchase high quality, fiber optic instruments at significantly discounted prices.