MCC wins $4.4 million to train more optics technicians

MCC wins $4.4 million to train more optics technicians

 A $4.4 million federal grant will help Monroe Community College turn out higher numbers of precision optics graduates.

U.S. Rep. Joe Morelle, D-Rochester, announced the grant Wednesday from the Office of Naval Research for the Defense Engineering Education Program in Optics.

This year MCC graduated 12 optics technicians, but that was a small percentage of the workers needed for 574 open positions in the Finger Lakes region, Morelle’s office said.

 “With 98 percent of these jobs currently going unfilled in our region, it’s more important than ever that we strengthen our workforce development initiatives and help students prepare for the jobs of tomorrow,” Morelle said.

“The grant allows MCC to strengthen our region’s optics workforce and help fulfill growing demands for skilled technicians in the defense critical field of applied optics,” said MCC President Anne M. Kress. “With federal support, we will expand our programs and apprenticeship network to attract more students, especially those from underserved populations, to optics education and careers.”

During three years, the grant is expected to have an impact on at least 3,000 high school and college students, apprentices, high school teachers and MCC faculty. The program will establish 150 apprenticeships and 30 sponsors from the industry to improve awareness of the opportunities in optics.

MCC is the only community college in the country offering associate’s degrees in precision optics.

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