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November 1, 2021
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NPI Applauds Congressional Optics & Photonics Caucus for a Robust Discussion on Workforce Development Issues

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Photonics Initiative (NPI), a broad-based collaborative alliance among industry, academia, and government to raise awareness of optics and photonics science and technology, today praised the bipartisan, bicameral Optics & Photonics Caucus for holding its first official policy discussion on the issue of workforce development in the optics and photonics industry.

“The bipartisan, bicameral Optics & Photonics Caucus is already doing important work to address the needs of the optics and photonics community,” NPI Board Chairman Ed White said. “This discussion outlined both challenges and opportunities when it comes to workforce development for our industry. In order to maintain our position as a global leader in this critical field, we must begin preparing today to build the workforce of tomorrow. The NPI fully supports the work of the O&P Caucus and looks forward to working with Caucus members to find proactive policy solutions to workforce development challenges in the near future.”

During the policy discussion, industry experts joined the Congressional Co-Chairs to discuss workforce development issues in the O&P industry. Caucus Founder and Co-Chair Representative Joe Morelle (D-NY) said, “Strengthening our growing optics and photonics industry in particular is critical to maintaining America’s position as a leader in global innovation. I’m grateful to the experts who participated in today’s discussion and look forward to our continued work together to create jobs, grow our skilled workforce, and bolster our high-tech economy.”
Also participating in the event was Honorary Co-Chair Senator Steve Daines (R-MT). Honorary Co-Chair Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) also delivered remarks. Panelists included Dr. Alexis Vogt, PhD, Professor of Optics at Monroe Community College, Jay Kumler, President of Jenoptik North America, Trent Berg, President of Montana Photonics Industry Alliance, and Katie Schwertz, Senior Design Engineer at Edmund Optics. They all discussed the challenges of training graduate and technical students and developing a pipeline of future talent in the burgeoning field. To view the event please click here and learn more about the O&P Caucus, please click here.

About the NPI: The National Photonics Initiative (NPI) is a collaborative alliance among industry, academia and government to raise awareness of photonics and the impact of photonics on our everyday lives; increase cooperation and coordination among US industry, government and academia to advance photonics-driven fields; and drive US funding and investment in areas of photonics critical to maintaining US economic competitiveness and national security. The initiative is being led by top scientific societies including the American Physical Society (APS), the IEEE Photonics Society, the Laser Institute of America (LIA), Optica (formerly OSA), the society advancing optics and photonics worldwide, and SPIE, the International Society for Optics and Photonics. For more information visit