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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

9.5 college credit fiber optic training program for under- and unemployed women: a private/public/continuing education partnership designed to promote women in fiber optics as a workforce initiative
Author(s): Margaret H. Stroup; Marjorie R. Valentin; Randall G. Seebeck; Joseph Williams; Deborah Jeffers; Robert Markoja

Paper Abstract

Three Rivers Community College, in conjunction with CiDRA Corporation a fiber-optic telecommunication company and Middlesex Community College, offered a 12 week, 9.5 college credit Fiber Optics training program for 14 unemployed and underemployed women in central Connecticut. Classes were held at the Meriden Center of Middlesex Community College, with some laboratory activities held at CiDRA's headquarters in Wallingford. Connecticut photonics related manufacturing companies project a need to hire anywhere from 100 to 1000 new photonics workers over the next several years. Despite this incredible demand, Three Rivers Community College is the only community college to offer an associate degree program in Photonics Engineering Technology in Connecticut, and one of only two colleges in new England. Funded in part by monies targeting Non-Traditional Occupations for women through the Connecticut Department of Labor, this accelerated program enabled participants to learn industry basics, be interview ready, and earn valuable credit towards an associate degree. The goal of the training program is to provide these former waitresses, truck drivers, certified nurse aides and medical technicians an opportunity to enter the higher-paying field of fiber-optic technology. The course, designed with curriculum assistance from Connecticut companies, will provide education and training needed to qualify for an entry-level position in fiber-optic manufacturing. In addition to free tuition students enrolled in the program received all supplies needed for the course including textbooks, a scientific calculator and an optics experiment kit. Students also practiced fiber termination and splicing skills and were eligible to take the Fiber Optic Association Certification Test at the conclusion of the program. The cost for the test was also paid by the grant. Students met regularly with female employees of CiDRA who served as mentors for the 12- week program. Math and science tutoring was provided by Middlesex Community College as well as basic employability skills and job search skills. CiDRA interviewed all participants who successfully complete the program. All students will complete pre- and post-tests in Math, Photonics, and Fiber Optics in addition to receiving grades for the courses.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 May 2002
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 4588, Seventh International Conference on Education and Training in Optics and Photonics, (28 May 2002); doi: 10.1117/12.468693
Show Author Affiliations
Margaret H. Stroup, Three Rivers Community College (United States)
Marjorie R. Valentin, Three Rivers Community College (United States)
Randall G. Seebeck, Three Rivers Community College (United States)
Joseph Williams, Middlesex Community College (United States)
Deborah Jeffers, Middlesex Community College (United States)
Robert Markoja, CiDRA Corp. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4588:
Seventh International Conference on Education and Training in Optics and Photonics
Tuan-Kay Lim; Robert P. Breault; Arthur H. Guenther; Arthur H. Guenther, Editor(s)

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