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Monroe Community College feeds optics industry work force in new partnership with Corning Incorporated Foundation

Monroe Community College is partnering with the Corning Incorporated Foundation on academic and job training opportunities for local students in the field of optics.

Over the next four years, Corning Incorporated Foundation will fund a $500,000 grant to MCC to serve students in the optical systems technology degree and certificate programs.

The program was established in 1971.  MCC intends to use the grant to upgrade equipment and update the curriculum so students can learn the current needs of the manufacturing sector.  It will also be developing a campaign to teach students what optics is and what a degree and career in optics can do for them.  Scholarship funds are also available for students in the optics degree program.

Karen C. Martin, president of Corning Incorporated Foundation, said the grant is part of the Foundation’s strategy to support selected science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education programs.

“The United States now ranks 27th among 29 developed countries for the production of STEM degrees,” she said. “More and more, our country needs skilled workers who can step into today’s high-tech manufacturing jobs, particularly at the technician level.

“From its beginning 60 years ago, the Foundation has supported higher education, particularly science and technology-based curricula which results in a more highly skilled workforce,” she added. “We’re proud to be collaborating with Monroe Community College and working toward our mutual goals.”

Degrees in optics technology have numerous applications including aerospace, defense, semiconductor and a host of other industries beyond the traditional houses known for optics, like Eastman Kodak Company, Xerox Corporation, and Bausch & Lomb.

“This extraordinary financial commitment by the Corning Incorporated Foundation comes at the right time to help satisfy growing employer demand for skilled workers in the optics field,” said Diane L. Shoger, executive director of the Monroe Community College Foundation. “With optics companies expanding in our region, this investment will help MCC guide more students into career paths that will lead them to quality jobs available today.”

“The Foundation grant reinforces the core importance of career technical education in our region, particularly with respect to the optics industry that has been a foundation of the Rochester economy for over a century,” said Damon W. Diehl, Ph.D., assistant professor of engineering technologies at MCC. “This funding will support MCC’s outreach to regional high schools, and it will allow us to update laboratory equipment so that our graduates exit the program with hands-on skills that are immediately relevant in industry.”

For more information on MCC’s optical systems technology programs, please visit or contact Damon W. Diehl, Ph.D. at (585) 292-2675 or

MCC will host two information sessions for students and parents interested in learning more about a career in optics. Sessions will be held on Thursday, August 9 at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. at MCC’s Brighton Campus, 1000 East Henrietta Road. For more information or to register, contact Sue O’Brien at (585) 292-3672 or

    Emily Schwartz

      Written by Emily Schwartz

      Emily Schwartz is the Coordinator of Open SUNY Communication and Projects.



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    • It’s good to hear that eduction in the growing field of optics is gaining the recognition and funding that it desperately needs and deserves. Great article!

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