Archive for June 2016

Schumer Launches Push to Include Optics & Photonics in “AMERICA COMPETES ACT” Reauthorization

June 27, 2016

SCHUMER LAUNCHES PUSH TO INCLUDE, FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, PHOTONICS & OPTICS INDUSTRY IN ‘AMERICA COMPETES ACT’ REAUTHORIZATION – INCLUSION WOULD ALLOW NATIONAL SCIENCE AGENCIES TO PRIORITIZE PHOTONICS & DIRECT MORE FUNDING AND RESOURCES TO WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT, RESEARCH, ACADEMIC PROGRAMS TO BOLSTER INDUSTRY AND KICKSTART JOB CREATION EFFORTS

Schumer Says New ‘American Innovation And Competitiveness Act’ Reauthorizes Many Of ‘America COMPETES Act’ Provisions That Expired In 2013; Reauthorization Provides Perfect Opportunity To Include Photonics & Optics Industry – Including Photonics Would Allow Top Science Agencies To Focus On Bolstering Developing Industry & Directing Resources To Centers Like AIM Photonics In Rochester

Senate Committee Has Incorporated Photonics Into Bill – Schumer Urges Full Senate To Pass It, Citing It Would Encourage Partnerships Between Fed Government, Industry And Academia To Spur R&D Investments, Promote Further Innovation & Create Jobs

Schumer: Fed Resources Could Light The Way For Further Photonics Innovation & Job Creation

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today launched his push to include the photonics and optics industry in the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act, which reauthorizes many programs originally included in the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science (COMPETES) Act which expired in 2013. Schumer explained that the COMPETES Act expired in 2013, and with the authorization set for this year, it provides the perfect opportunity for Congress to prioritize the need for this nation’s top science agencies to invest in the fields of photonics and optics. Schumer said including photonics and optics would allow agencies like the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to focus on bolstering and developing this industry. This reauthorization will support photonic and optics R&D projects between the private sector, government, and academia, enhance optics and photonics workforce development and education programs, and enhance resources to centers like American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics (AIM) Photonics in Rochester. Schumer said the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation incorporated language supporting this burgeoning industry in the bill, and Schumer is urging the full Senate to pass the bill when it comes to the floor.

“The AIM Photonics center in Rochester is already becoming a game-changer in the field of optics and photonics research and development. And in order for this institute to become a true hub of innovation, job creation and economic growth, it will need to tap into the resources and funding our top scientific agencies provide,” said Schumer. “Incorporating the photonics and optics industry in the committee bill was a critical step in the right direction – but we need the full Senate to pass this bill. This is the perfect opportunity to invest in the kind of research and innovation that is going keep our domestic workforce and industry globally competitive with other nations in science and technology.”

According to the National Photonics Initiative, photonics is the generation, transmission and manipulation of light, and including this industry in the Senate Authorization bill would encourage partnerships between the federal government, industry and academia in this field. These public-private partnerships could then gain greater access to federal funding and resources. Schumer said this would allow these partnerships to spear-head pivotal R&D investments in photonics, develop new technologies and create jobs in this developing industry.

Schumer argued that now, more than ever, photonics is becoming the core field of science that underpins a vast amount of the technology that makes our 21st century lives possible. From the fiber optics that drive the internet and mobile communication, to the lasers that enable cutting edge medical screening devices, to energy efficient lighting and electronic displays, and the systems that are vital to our national defense, optical and photonics technologies are a key driver responsible for current and future cutting edge industries and jobs. As a result, Schumer said this nation’s top scientific organizations should be able to focus on directing funding and resources to this industry.

Schumer has long fought to bring the photonics industry the resources it needs, particularly in Upstate NY. Beginning more than three years ago, Schumer lead the federal push that culminated in the Department of Defense (DoD) selecting the Rochester, NY headquartered AIM Photonics proposal as the winner of the DoD’s largest Institute of Manufacturing Innovation (IMI).   This win was the culmination of a multi-year effort by Schumer beginning in February 2013 when, he joined local experts in Rochester’s optics technology and high-tech manufacturing industry at the Eastman Business Park to launch the first-ever plan to create a national network of manufacturing hubs, with the aim of bringing one to Upstate New York. Schumer said that many areas in Upstate New York, including Rochester – with its Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster, Rochester Institute of Technology, and University of Rochester, in combination with SUNY Polytechnic’s expertise in nanoscale electronics, the packaging of chips, and photonics – would be a perfect fit to secure funding to establish this new photonics IMI. In October 2014 Schumer announced the Administration had picked Photonics as topic of this latest IMI competition and he pledged to push for a NYS-led applicant.  In January 2014, Schumer announced that, following their push, the DOD had selected the joint New York application as one of the finalists. In April 2015, Schumer urged the DOD in a personal meeting with DoD Secretary Ash Carter to select the New York-led application. Furthermore, on July 22, 2015 Schumer announced that following this push, the DoD selected the New York- Rochester AIM Photonics proposal as the winner of the $110M Federal Institute, making the AIM Photonics institute in Rochester a reality. The program is being led by the Department of Defense and institutions in New York State, which are currently working to create a nationwide ecosystem of private sector, government and academic partners that can leverage existing U.S. based expertise and industrial assets to launch leapfrog advancements in new cutting edge technologies, like integrated photonics for the U.S.’s defense.     

National Photonics Initiative (NPI) Steering Committee Member and AIM Photonics Corporate Outreach Executive Ed White offered praise for Sen. Schumer and his support of the bill, “on behalf of the NPI, I want to express my deep appreciation for Sen. Schumer’s leadership in ensuring the US remain a competitive force in the optics and photonics industry as demonstrated by his support of S. 3084, the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act. This bipartisan bill includes a provision that seeks to bring industry, community colleges and universities together to help promote innovation and keep photonics jobs and companies in New York and across the United States.”

A copy of Schumer’s letter to Senate Appropriators appears below:

 

Dear Chairman Thune and Ranking Member Nelson,

For the first time ever, the reauthorization of the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science (America COMPETES Act), which expired in 2013 provides a fitting opportunity for Congress and the nation to recognize and prioritize the need for our top science agencies, including the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to invest in the fields of Photonics and Optics.  Originally passed in 2007 and reauthorized in 2010, before expiring in 2013, this Act was created to invest in innovation, research, and development (R&D) in order to keep our domestic workforce and industry globally competitive with other nations in science and technology.

Specifically, I ask that Photonics and Optics be included in any reauthorization of this legislation and the programs it authorizes as an industry that our federal science agencies should focus on and foster through the promotion of research and development, innovative technological advances, and partnerships among public-private-academia to accelerate the development of a highly trained workforce ready to work in current and future Photonics industries.  Now more than ever photonics, which is the generation, transmission and manipulation of light, is becoming the core field of science that underpins a vast amount of the technology that makes our 21st century lives possible.  From the fiber optics that drive the internet and mobile communication, to lasers that enable cutting edge medical screening devices, to energy efficient lighting and electronic displays, and the systems that are vital to our national defense, Optical and photonics technologies are the key driver responsible for current and future cutting edge industries and jobs.  Last year, I was pleased to support the establishment of the American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics (AIM Photonics), which is being led by the Department of Defense and institutions in New York State, headquartered in Rochester, NY to create a nationwide ecosystem of private sector, government, and academic partners to leverage existing U.S. based expertise and industrial assets to launch leapfrog advancements in new cutting edge technologies, like integrated photonics for our nation’s defense.     

In order to create new domestic jobs across other economic sectors  and to position the U.S. to be a global leader in the highly skilled photonics industries that will increasing shape the world economy in the decades to come it is vital that our federal science agencies spear-head investments in photonics and promote the development of photonics technologies.  I appreciate your ongoing work to reauthorize the America COMPETES Act and your consideration of this request.

 

Sincerely,

 Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator

 

A Manufacturer’s Commitment to a Strong Future Workforce #fivepercentpledge

June 24, 2016

You don’t have to simply hope that there will be a skilled workforce available when your workforce begins to retire.  You can actually do something about it now.

Sign the 5% Pledge and pay it forward.  For every 20 employees in your organization hire one temporary intern, co-op, high school student or long-term unemployed individual this summer.  It is a simple idea that will have a valuable pay off in your company’s future.  It has worked for your colleagues and it can work for you.The 5% Pledge

Sign the 5% Pledge

#fivepercentpledge

Successful Optics & Photonics Careers Can Start with a Two Year Degree

June 23, 2016

Has the decades-long march to college-for-everyone-at-18 actually closed off options for teenagers and 20-somethings, rather than opened up opportunities?

We all know teen-aged kids with potential that seem to “underperform” when pursuing a four-year degree.  We also know college grads saddled with debt, who can’t find jobs in their chosen fields.

Maybe a technical certificate that can get you earning or a two-year degree in Optics & Photonics are smart investments.  Monroe Community College offers both in an “in-demand” job market.

Three years ago, the Corning Incorporated Foundation invested $500,000 into improving the MCC program, matched with another $250,000 from Sydor Optics.  Why do you think that is?  The MCC program is the only program of its kind in the nation, and both companies, as other companies do, hire graduates of the program.

The same is true for so many technical and vocational programs offered in the region and across the country.  Why then do some parents continue to spend more for their children to attend four-year colleges than they do on their house?  Is it really nothing more than a gamble?

Nearly 40 percent of American workers hold a bachelor’s degree. College graduates are found in virtually every profession: 15 percent of mail carriers have a four-year degree, as do one in five clerical and sales workers and 83,000 bartenders.

>>Read More Here<<

 

EXIM Bank Roundtable Event Today

June 13, 2016

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United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is hosting a roundtable discussion with Fred P. Hochberg, Chairman and President of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) at Lumetrics in Henrietta. They will kick-off this discussion that focuses on how local businesses can develop and increase exporting opportunities. The Export-Import Bank will provide information regarding their available resources, including access to working capital, extending credit to buyers, assistance with finding new markets and customers, and other vital resources to help companies expand sales by accessing international markets.

The EXIM Bank is the official export credit agency of the United States. It is an independent, self-sustaining federal agency with a mission of supporting American jobs by facilitating the export of U.S. goods and services. The EXIM Bank helps level the playing field for U.S. goods and services going up against foreign competition in overseas markets, so that American companies can create more good-paying American jobs. Because it is backed by the full faith and credit of the United States, EXIM Bank can provide export financing that fills gaps in trade financing by assuming credit and country risks that the private sector is unable or unwilling to accept.

We hope you can join us for this interactive discussion.   

Please send your RSVP here

When:            Monday, June 13th at  2:15 pm
Where:           Lumetrics
Eagle’s Landing Business Park
1565 Jefferson Rd #420
Rochester, NY 14623

Radical Innovation: Can It Be Cultivated, Or Is It Unintended Consequence?

June 6, 2016

People who want to seem smarter than the average researcher or business leader pretend that they can cultivate radical innovation.  Is there evidence that they can?  “Innovation,” “Scaling,” “Disruption” are all terms that are easy to apply in hindsight and toss around at cocktail parties but not so easy to engender.

Some people think that “breaking it” and then scrambling to fix it in a new way spurs radical innovation.  Doesn’t that sound a little like vandalism or clear-cutting?  Sure, something will always grow or be repaired.  Is that innovation?  We even see evidence of this theory in politics, but with very little evidence for the success of the model.

Peter Thiel has a model.  Does it work?

NEW YORK PHOTONICS AWARDS $6,000 GRANTS TO TWO AREA HIGH SCHOOLS

June 2, 2016

ROCHESTER, NY, June 2, 2016 – New York Photonics has awarded two $6,000 grants to schools in the Rochester region. The schools, Gates-Chili High School and Greece Olympia High School, both teach a dual-credit optics course with Monroe Community College’s Optical Systems Technologies program.

The grants will be used to support optics labs at the discretion of the optics and career education teachers at the schools.

Gates-Chili teacher Donna Smith plans to use the money to match a grant from the Corning Inc. Foundation to buy computers and lab equipment for her classroom. Smith began teaching optics in 2011 and participated for three years in the “Optics Summer Sizzler Camp” hosted at MCC.

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Donna Smith, Gates Chili Physics Teacher receives her award from Tom Battley, New York Photonics Executive Director

Greece Olympia High School will use its grant to write curricula and develop career pathways. According to Kathy Richardson, coordinator of college, career and student achievement, Greece Olympia now teaches two dual-credit MCC optics courses including Introduction to Optics.

Students from both schools are able to enter the MCC Optical Systems Technology Program with credits earned while in high school.

Tom Battley with Kathy Richardson, Coordinator, College, Career & Student Achievement, Greece Olympia High School

Tom Battley with Kathy Richardson, Coordinator, College, Career & Student Achievement, Greece Olympia High School

According to SPIE, the International Society for Photonics, the worldwide market for core optics and photonics components was $182 billion in 2014 and employed 863,000 people.. This core market underpins a variety of industries valued in total at $1.45 billion, serving consumer electronics and entertainment, defense and law enforcement, biophotonics and healthcare, among others.

“These two schools, led by these educators, were early adopters of dual-credit optics and photonics education with the MCC program,” said Tom Battley, executive director of New York Photonics. “They recognize the extraordinary career opportunities available in the optics, photonics and imaging industry. They get students excited about the science and help students and their families identify the career pathways.”

“The photonics cluster has offered similar grants in the past,” said Michael Naselaris, Director of Business & Corporate Development of Sydor Optics. “Jim Sydor, our CEO, is a graduate of the MCC program and wants to see the program continue to thrive.  Member companies in the Cluster make substantial investments in time and money to promote optics education in Rochester.”

Alexis Vogt, Associate Professor and Chair of Optics at MCC noted that Rochester is the birthplace of Optics in America.  There continue to be many job openings for Optics technicians both locally and nationally.  “We are looking for more students to pursue Optics here at MCC and Gates-Chili and Greece Olympia are integral in helping drive enrollment to create more opportunities for students.”

Naselaris agrees.  “There is nation-wide demand for technicians with a two-year degree from MCC’s optics program, and parents can save quite a bit of money when their kids choose to do a 2+2 program with optics or photonics at MCC followed by the second two years at RIT or University of Rochester.”

Battley credited Naselaris with leading fundraising efforts throughout the year that enable New York Photonics to make charitable grants to promote workforce education in this promising industry, identified by New York state as a key pillar of upstate revitalization.

About the RRPC

The Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster (RRPC) is a not-for-profit organization founded to promote and enhance the New York State Optics, Photonics and Imaging industry by fostering the cooperation of business, academia and government.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact New York Photonics Executive Director Tom Battley at (585) 329-4029 or email at tbattley@newyorkphotonics.org.