Career change is never an easy decision. However, doing so now is even more complicated due to circumstances surrounding the coronavirus pandemic and recovery. For those who were already considering a career change prior to 2020, the current circumstances are forcing adjustments. On the other hand, many feel their chosen career path is no longer applicable for a variety of reasons. They need transformation now to secure a future for themselves and their families.
One profession that is continuing to experience growth for numerous reasons is scientific glass technologies. “The sustainability of glass has made it a key resource for manufacturing components in a wide range of industries. These include medical, aerospace, even communications to name a few,” said Christina Rossi of Precision Electronic Glass (PEG). “This makes a lot of sense when you consider the available resources that we have here on earth. Silica sand, also known as quartz sand, is the primary ingredient of glass. Another benefit is the potential to endlessly recycle glass. For example, our scrap glass is collected and used for asphalt to pave roads.”
“Glass has many unique beneficial properties that few other materials have. For example, it does not leech chemicals. When colored, glass materials will prevent sunlight from changing the chemical properties of what is contained inside. In addition, glass is an excellent insulator,” Rossi added. “Because of its unique properties, glass is used in fiber optics, night vision, x-rays, fire detection, elemental analysis, laser technology and so much more.”
Partnering with Education to Provide Career Change Options and Fill the Need for Glass Technicians
As a result of the importance of glass in our daily lives, Precision Electronic Glass (PEG) has teamed up with Salem Community College (SCC). With its deep knowledge of the scientific glass industry, PEG assists the Scientific Glass Technology (SGT) Education Program at the school’s Samuel and Jean Jones Glass Education Center by helping to express industry needs and recommend skills. Also, Rossi sits on the advisory board of the community college. She is the third generation of a New Jersey family that has pioneered the role of glass in electronic technologies.
This program at SCC is the only Associate Degree in Applied Sciences of its kind in the nation. The Scientific Glass Technology (SGT) program introduces students to the necessary skills and techniques for constructing scientific glass components and apparatuses for university laboratories, industrial research, and production.
Consequently, the SGT program combines classroom study and hands-on laboratory techniques, technical drawing, and advanced fabrication. Students develop a solid understanding of scientific glassblowing so they are able to fabricate various components according to technical specifications.
Explore the Wide Array of Fields, Industries, and Companies Served by this Career Change
Technical glassblowers enrolled in the SGT program create glass components for use across broad technical platforms in laboratories, universities, and industries. Therefore, they play a vital role in diverse avenues of inquiry. Some of the fields and industries served by this unique skill include aerospace, biological research, chemical, and mechanical engineering. Others include earth science, electro-optical systems, food science, medical and pharmaceutical, physics, and semiconductor.
In addition to joining manufacturers such as PEG (a provider of components to many large corporations), graduates of Salem Community College have also earned positions at a variety of mega employers. These include companies such as Proctor and Gamble, 3M, GE Global Research, Chemglass Life Sciences, Pope Scientific, and Cannon Instruments. It also includes Meggitt PLC, Phillips Healthcare, L-3 Communications, University of Notre Dame, Syracuse University, and Cal Tech Institute. Finally, students have joined Temple University, University of Botswana, Australian National University, Savannah River Nuclear Site, National Institute of Health, and Argonne National Laboratory among many others.
Some of the New Skill Sets that Enable Career Change
Those enrolled in the program at SCC benefit from the master craftsmanship and experience of the faculty as well as guest experts to help hone a variety of skills. In addition, the glass technology center hosts regular workshops as well as an International Flameworking Conference.
Upon successfully completing the two-year SGT program, students can:
- utilize and improve skills to fabricate more intricately designed glass components;
- fabricate functional apparatuses according to research and industrial technical specifications;
- demonstrate the ability to produce, read and understand glass shop drawings; and
- demonstrate knowledge of the function of individual glass apparatuses as well as chemical systems.
From its beginning in 1962, and for more than half a century, PEG continues to meet the future of glass fabrication challenges presented by new and evolving technologies. PEG’s engineering team partners with our skilled workforce to translate the ideas of clients into custom glass technology. This unique and growing expertise of our workforce allows for the ongoing expansion and evolution of components and services to accommodate transformational needs in industrial and scientific research. “The scientific glass program has been a great resource for new employees, we are grateful for the opportunity that we have to participate in and build our relationship with this excellent program at SCC,” Rossi said.
PEG’s mission is to provide customized glass and quartz products and related services to OEMs and distributors. We work globally in all countries where our customers operate. Our objective is to fabricate the finest precision glass and quartz components and assemblies to customers’ specifications. Working together with customers, PEG manufactures prototypes; handles small to large production runs; performs value-added assembly, and provides cleanroom processing when specifications dictate the need for it.
Utilizing standard or computer-controlled glass lathe fabrication; glass-to-glass and glass-to-metal graded seals; cutting and end finishing; and precision grinding/polishing. PEG produces components and value-added assemblies, including medical, dental, or industrial glass X-ray tubes, CO2 or HeNe lasers. Similarly, we produce all glass and quartz fabrications in facilities certified to ISO 9001:2015 standards of quality. In conclusion, our commitment to quality and integrity in everything we do is reflected in our mission statement, corporate values, and quality policy.