Industry Demand for Community College Graduates in Advanced Technological Education: Estimates from a National Employer Survey in Optics and Photonics Technology
Darrell M. Hull, Judy A.Bolen, Paul A. Illich, Rebecca J. Glover

The National Science Foundation in the United States has supported technician education through the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program since 1992 to provide resources to U.S. two-year associate-degree granting colleges to expand the pool of skilled technicians in strategic advanced-technology fields. The intent of the program is to increase productivity of the Nation’s industries and improve national competitiveness. The present study utilizes information collected from a national sample (n = 636) of optics and photonics technician employers to examine the demand for technicians. Despite conducting the survey during one of the worst global recessions, demand and compensation for technicians is quite high, and employers generally prefer to hire technicians with education represented by a one-year certificate or two-year associate degree.

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