a unique partnership

A unique partnership has been finalized between Valencia, Northrop Grumman and Orange County Public schools to create the Photonics Academy at Wekiva High School in Apopka. Launched in fall 2009, the program provides students with the knowledge and opportunity to become laser and photonics technicians upon graduating high school.

The academy is the first of its kind in the area, with a private company bringing resources to a public program. Northrop Grumman has provided $20,000 toward equipment and for program instructors’ salaries. OCPS has put $100,000 worth of grant funds toward the program for the purchase of laser and optics equipment. Valencia is providing the instructors for the program as well as the electronics equipment. Plans are underway to expand the electronics engineering technology curriculum on Valencia’s own campus as well. A pending National Science Foundation grant would help to fund the development of three new advanced-level photonics courses covering content identified by the industry as being most critical for photonics technicians.

By working together, Valencia, the University of Central Florida, Orange County Public Schools and Northrop Grumman have been able to create opportunities for Central Floridians to pursue jobs and advanced degrees in engineering and engineering technology.

Article provided by The Bulletin – a weekly publication for the faculty and staff of Valencia Community College.

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