Oakton Community College to Launch First Hands-On Nanotechnology Course in January 2013

“The Fundamentals of Nanotechnology class will provide students with a foundation of nano-focused knowledge and skill, and will help prepare them for exciting jobs in the fast growing field of nanotechnology,” said Bob Sompolski, Ph.D., Dean of Mathematics and Technologies at Oakton. “We are thrilled to be launching this new course for our students and the Oakton community.”

“The nanotechnology course at Oakton launches the Nanotechnology Employment, Education, and Economic Development Initiative (NE3I), a collaborative effort with Oakton, the Village of Skokie, the Illinois Science + Technology Park (IS+TP), and the North Suburban Educational Region for Vocational Education (NSERVE) to bring nanotechnology education to Oakton and area high schools,” said Michael S. Rosen, Senior Vice President of New Business Development at Forest City Science + Technology Group, which manages the IS+TP. “This represents an important step for the state of Illinois in creating a nanotech workforce.”

According to the 2012 Illinois Nanotechnology Report published in the December 2012 issue of IEEE Nanotechnology, “… the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition identified 74 businesses in Illinois that are directly involved in the nanotechnology industry either through their work on the nanoscale or through their use of nanoenabled products.” Many of the companies noted within the report are located in the greater-Chicago area, including geography served by Oakton.

Nanotechnology is the understanding and control of matter at dimensions between approximately one and 100 nanometers (nm), where unique phenomena enable novel applications which are not feasible when working with bulk materials. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter. Encompassing nanoscale science, engineering, and technology, nanotechnology involves imaging, measuring, modeling, and manipulating matter at the nanoscale. A study funded by the National Science Foundation projects that 6 million nanotechnology workers will be needed worldwide by 2020, with 2 million of those jobs in the United States. However, as of 2008, there were only 400,000 estimated workers worldwide in the field of nanotechnology, with an estimated 150,000 of those in the United States.

Oakton students choose from more than 2,500 courses, studying everything from accounting, fine arts, and modern languages to nursing, marketing, engineering, computer science, and dozens of other subjects. They can transfer to more than 600 four-year institutions — or gain the skills they need to find the job of their dreams. Campus resources include two libraries, more than 40 student clubs, athletics, state-of-the-art science and health careers facilities, child care centers, and more.

The College also offers continuing education through its Alliance for Lifelong Learning and Emeritus Program, and a wealth of cultural and educational events open to the general public. Its free Koehnline Museum of Art mounts thought-provoking exhibitions and the Performing Arts Center features a full range of theatrical and musical performances. Nationally- and locally-known speakers, experts, and authors often give free lectures and presentations on campus.