May 16, 2023, Orlando, FL — Valencia College will launch a new, 15-week optics certification program in September 2023 to meet the growing demand for precision optics and photonics technicians in Central Florida.
Valencia worked alongside teams from Monroe Community College of Rochester, N.Y., and the American Center for Optics Manufacturing (AmeriCOM) for more than two years to develop the course. AmeriCOM, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, is providing Valencia College with $1.5 million for lab equipment.
Classes will be held at the Careers in Industry and Technology building at Valencia’s Osceola Campus, which is located at 1800 Denn John Lane in Kissimmee.
After the 15-week training program, students will have the opportunity to earn three nationally recognized certifications and can be hired as a precision optics technician, an optics assembler, or a photonics technician. Valencia is partnering with employers Lockheed Martin, LightPath, Ocean Insights, Critical Frequency, Jenopitk, and Chronosphotonics and other members of the Florida Photonics Cluster to develop the program. Starting pay ranges between $18 to $23 per hour.
The program will train students in optics fabrication (making lenses for industrial and military devices, equipment, and systems), optical assembly (assembling lenses and wiring systems), photonics (working with lasers for testing and communication), and fiber optics (assembling cable systems to connect various components).
Valencia College was chosen as a community college hub by the AmeriCOM initiative in part because of the expanding optics manufacturing industry in Central Florida, which includes NeoCity in Osceola County. AmeriCOM is supporting Valencia’s student recruitment effort with a nationwide marketing awareness campaign.
The AmeriCOM initiative is funded by the Office of Industrial Base Policy of the Department of Defense to expand workforce training programs, undertake new research, expand the precision optics manufacturing base, and secure the nation’s precision optics supply chain.
Source: Linda Shrieves, Public Affairs & Marketing www.valenciacollege.edu/news