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Grant to aid nanotechnology training

October 4, 2012
By LEVI PASCHER , The Leader Herald

JOHNSTOWN - Fulton-Montgomery Community College will use federal grant money to help train people in nanotechnology.

The program, which is still being designed, will help workers who lost their jobs as a result of increased imports or shifts in production out of the United States. The program also will help unemployed veterans.

"What we are looking to do is find a way to put together a one-year program in nanotechnology and get them ready for a new job, versus our typical two-year curriculum," FMCC President Dustin Swanger. "I expect this could help 50 or more students locally over the next two years."

Article Photos

A Fulton-Montgomery Community College student works on the Atomic Force Microscope in May at FMCC’s clean room classroom.
The Leader-Herald/Amanda Whistle

The college will receive nearly $100,000 from the federal government for the job-training program.

Swanger said the program will be designed to aid people that have technology backgrounds and out of work by adding to their existing knowledge in the field. As a result, this program will only be offered to those with experience and not brand new, incoming students.

Swanger said he hopes to have the program available to the community by the fall semester next year.

Richard Prestopnik, a professor of electrical technology at the college, will head the program.

"Part of the funding is to allow us to do some curriculum development work," Prestopnik said. "We are concentrating on nanotechnologies and semiconductor manufacturing. We are attempting to design a program that will grant a one-year certificate targeted toward individuals with experience in advanced technical fields."

He said the course will include a lot of hands-on work so students can be prepared for what it will be like in the actual job.

Prestopnik said companies such as Global Foundries and Albany Nanotech will look to hire the students from this new program because of their knowledge in the field. He said the college has hosted four or five recruiting events on campus over the past three weeks where Global Foundries has given students work as paid interns starting next year at $14 an hour.

Nanotechnology is dealing with anything smaller than 100 nanometers and can't be seen with the human eye. Prestopnik said that many characteristics, such as color, change when something is broken down to the nanoscale.

He explained that nanotechnology is becoming more focused on developing integrated circuits because everyone wants their devices to be smaller whether that is a computer or mobile device.

Prestopnik said that the campus clean room will be used for this program to allow the students to use high-powered microscopes to examine the types of things that are made by local businesses and learn fundamental testing in the classes.



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