The shortage of skilled photonics professionals limits growth The rapid growth of the photonics sector has far outpaced the ability of education and training providers to produce graduates with critical skills in optics and photonics. The acute shortage of technical professionals is a large factor in limiting the growth of the industry. The eMPOWR (Microelectronics, Photonics/Optoelectronics, and Wireless/Radio engineering) initiative has conducted a large-scale survey and estimates that by the year 2005, Canada will be short 70% of the number of highly qualified people that will be needed to maintain the present growth of eMPOWR sectors, including photonics.
The University of Waterloo, partnered with key industry players, Photonics Research Ontario and the Ontario government, has launched Ontario’s first diploma-level photonics program to re-skill scientists and engineers. The Education Program for Photonics Professionals (EP3) offers the basics of a university level Optics education, but in a manageable timeframe and format for the working professional.