Education & Workforce


HQAN + Quantum Workforce Development

The HQAN education, training, and workforce development programs are focused on preparing the next-generation quantum-ready workforce through activities at all education levels. To stimulate workforce development in the short-term, HQAN will offer new, interdisciplinary instruction at the undergraduate and graduate level and retraining to engineers and scientists already embedded in the private sector and national labs, including internship opportunities and exchange programs. With the existing highly ranked UIUC, UW, and UC disciplinary education programs at scale across the full range of domains required to solve problems in QISE, HQAN is strongly positioned have to a major positive impact in this space. In the long term, HQAN outreach and engagement programs will help feed the education pipeline needed to sustain a large-scale quantum workforce, and will strengthen public support for quantum science. 

K-12 and Outreach Activities

HQAN will develop, support, and expand a number of QISE outreach and education programs to introduce future generations of scientists and engineers to quantum science and its potential for world-changing applications. Our programs also seek to broaden the diversity of this workforce. Our portfolio will include both virtual and in-person interactive events and resources, with an emphasis on reaching rural and disadvantaged communities throughout the Midwest.  

Undergraduate and Graduate Programs

To help meet the growing need for a highly trained, nimble quantum workforce, HQAN will expand the range of QISE higher education degree programs available to students. We will place an emphasis on developing cross-disciplinary, inter-departmental QISE courses and curricula with input and coordination from HQAN industry partners. Building on their top-ranked undergraduate and graduate Physics, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Computer Science programs, HQAN member UIUC will develop new academic programs in QISE. We will explore options, such as undergraduate degree specializations, online course delivery, and Master’s degree programs. HQAN will work to integrate components such as access to HQAN testbeds as an instructional element and a thesis research project completed in a group at any HQAN member institution.

HQAN will also partner with the newly formed Master’s of Science program in Quantum Computing at UW. This program is the first of its kind in the US, with the inaugural class having graduated in the summer of 2020. It is a one-year intensive professional Master’s program that blends classroom and laboratory experience to quickly train workers to understand and apply new quantum technologies. We envision strong synergy between our proposed research and outreach efforts with this innovative educational program, and we expect that Quantum Master’s students on the UW campus will participate in HQAN in a number of ways: attending and presenting local and telecast seminar talks, participating in HQAN research, and networking with academic performers in the center and with outside industrial collaborators.  

We will work closely with HQAN industrial partners to tailor these degree programs to meet the needs of the quantum workforce as the industrial applications of quantum science continue to evolve and expand. 

Professional Training Programs

There is active interest in developing methods for re-training industrial engineers to focus their skills on emerging needs in quantum science and engineering. Beyond the companies currently pursuing quantum research, many corporations ranging in size from small businesses to international conglomerates have an urgent need to prepare for the impacts of emerging quantum technologies. At the same time, professionals are eagerly looking for opportunities to distinguish themselves via QISE proficiency. These needs call for short-term training courses specifically tailored to this context. HQAN will therefore work with industry partners to develop and expand the Industrial Quantum Certificate program at UC, which consists of a short, intense, multi-component program to grant quantum literacy. The courses will be organized, advertised, and taught by faculty members of HQAN at specific locations in downtown Chicago in coordination with the UC Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, with the content focused on quantum technologies that could have substantial impact on areas relevant to industry.  Participants will have the opportunity to learn the relevant fundamentals of quantum physics, and then quickly progress to current quantum technology efforts and their applications, with a strong connection to the research efforts within HQAN.