Teaming Up to Get Workers Ready for Technology of the Future 聯手為未來科技培訓人力
Shawn Reese is the perfect example of the complicated route that can lie ahead for workers of the future — but also for the opportunities that are emerging.
He graduated from Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester, Massachusetts, in May with a degree in electronics engineering, a field that — like most — is undergoing rapid change. A degree today is unlikely to be enough preparation for the challenges of tomorrow. So what is a student, a university, an industry, to do?
One approach is the one taken by AIM Photonics — its AIM Photonics Academy — and a group of community colleges and universities that have banded together over the last five years to develop emerging technologies and train the work forces needed to sustain them. (AIM stands for the American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics; we'll get to the photonics part in a moment.)
The partnership is one of 14 across the country focusing on emerging technologies and industries addressing an increasingly important and frequently vexing question: how to prepare workers at all levels — technicians as well as people with doctoral degrees — for new technologies, like integrated photonics, that are in development, but only at the very early stages of commercial use.
"Because the jobs don't exist yet, we need to train students in the skills that are relevant today so they can get a job, but at the same time, very selectively, begin to supplement the training relevant to new industries," said Sajan Saini, the education director of the AIM Photonics Academy, which is based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.
In his view, the way to accomplish this is by creating "a staggered educational curriculum so that the learning never stops."
And that brings us to photonics: It's the science of using particles of light, or photons, as an energy source (as opposed to electrons) and derives from work by Albert Einstein and others that began more than a century ago. It figures in a wide range of modern devices, from CT scans to bar codes, to laser-guided missiles, cellphone networks and more. Light-based technologies are energy efficient, reliable and fast.
Integrated photonics is still a developing technology that enables components to work seamlessly together. It is expected to be incorporated in telecommunications and computing, to name just two applications, and could, by 2025, comprise a market exceeding $5 billion, said Lionel Kimerling, the AIM Photonics Academy executive.
Children's Books Authors Are Selling More Than Books. They're Taking a Stand. 童書作家不只賣書還推政治主張
When photos began circulating of migrant children separated from their parents and placed in what looked like giant cages in detention centers, young adult novelists Melissa de la Cruz and Margaret Stohl had an immediate response. After texting nine author friends asking what they could collectively do, de la Cruz and Stohl drafted a statement of protest called "Kidlit Says No Kids in Cages," denouncing "practices that should be restricted to the pages of dystopian novels."
Within minutes, they had 94 signatures from "our fellow kidlit authors and supporters," de la Cruz said. A day later the statement was posted on Twitter with more than 4,000 signatures. The group has now raised nearly $240,000 for legal services for the migrant families.
They also expanded fundraising to include online raffles and auctions for such services as manuscript evaluations by best-selling children's authors and "character naming," with the winning donor's name to appear in an as-yet-to-be-written novel.
Another group of kidlit authors, agents and publishers made an online clearinghouse of original posters designed by prominent children's book illustrators to protest family separation, all available for free download.
Children's book creators similarly coordinated a response after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shootings in Parkland, Florida, in February. Graphic novelist Raina Telgemeier and YA novelist Jenny Han set up a group called Kidlit Marches for Kids, rallying colleagues to join the March 24 gun control protest spearheaded by the Parkland students, and designing a protest sign for marchers.
Children's books have always been political, of course — that is why they are fixtures on lists of banned or censored books. And the welfare of children has long been at the forefront for authors who write for them. But current children's book creators are finding new outlets for their concerns, often banding together, with the support of social media, to increase their effect.
If the old image of a writer for children was a wise-child genius in the mold of Maurice Sendak — one who spoke up for kids and when necessary challenged the political powers that be, but indirectly — these days, children's authors might not only hold signs at protest marches, they may also volunteer to strategize for a state assembly race, or even run for office.