Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Workforce demand in optics continues to grow


The optics program at Monroe Community College just graduated 41 students -- tied for the most in the program's history -- but it’s still not enough to meet the local demand for jobs in the industry, according to professor Alexis Vogt, who runs MCC’s optics program.

She says there are over 120 optics companies in the region, part of an industry she says is responsible for innovations that have revolutionized our world and improved our lives.

“Whether it's our smartphones, backup cameras, or barcode scanners or QR codes or virtual reality glasses, autonomous vehicles, Netflix, the ability to have a call like this over Zoom. And these are only just a few examples, “ she said.  “Optics is this enormous field.”

Vogt says there is a worldwide shortage of optics technicians, and the Finger Lakes region alone needs over 550 graduates of the program each year. But, she says, there simply aren’t enough students.

`` This is a tremendous career, we have people who have two year associate degrees in the Rochester community making well over $100,000 a year, and we have CEOs of optics companies who have two year degrees from MCC,” she said. “We have some students who start the program and within a couple of weeks of starting the program, they're offered jobs simply because the employers know that the students being in the program means they will receive such intense skill, and they'll then be very marketable.”

More information on MCC’s optics program is on the college’s website