APOPKA, Fla., Aug. 31, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC - News) has helped establish the new Wekiva High School Photonics Academy by contributing $20,000 in cash plus laboratory equipment valued at $30,000.
Northrop Grumman, which operates its Laser Systems business unit in Apopka, helped to create the photonics academy in partnership with Orange County Public Schools and Valencia Community College. The Northrop Grumman financial contribution will be used to help defray program costs.
The academy is open to students at Wekiva High School in Apopka, with classes expected to commence later this month. To participate in the program students must maintain a 2.5 grade point average. Students are also required to also enroll in Valencia Community College, where they will receive college credits for the courses taken at the Photonics Academy.
"This is a great opportunity for the students at Wekiva High School and for us," said Gordon Stewart, vice president and general manager of Northrop Grumman Laser Systems. "Once they graduate from this program, they will be well on their way to becoming laser technicians. And, since we have a continuing need for trained and certified laser technicians, we are very pleased to be a part of this innovative education and training process."
Under this first-of-its-kind program, the students will take coursework in mathematics, science, communications, electronics, and optics. An in-depth sequence of laboratory learning experiences will develop the hands-on skills needed for operating and maintaining laser and photonics based systems.
"I am very excited about this opportunity, as it will not only enhance our students academically in establishing relevance to their science and math studies, but also because it will enhance their critical and creative thinking skills," said Wekiva High School principal Dr. D. Elise Gruber. "The opportunity to leave Wekiva High School 'job-ready' in a competitive and financially rewarding field is unique."
Northrop Grumman Laser Systems is one of the world's leading manufacturers of military Electro-Optical (EO) targeting systems. These include ground-based (manportable, handheld, and vehicle mounted) EO imaging/ranging systems for target location, laser designators/markers for precise guidance of smart munitions, and airborne laser rangefinders and designators fielded onboard many of the world's most sophisticated manned and unmanned aircraft.
Northrop Grumman Corporation is a global defense and technology company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.
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