The Fiber Broadband Association’s Optical Telecom Installation Certification (OpTIC) program, which was announced today, aims to enable quick scaling of fiber education, fill in gaps in technician skills and accelerate North American deployments. The fiber technician certification program, which will be offered at vocational schools, community colleges and veteran training programs, will be piloted at Wilson Community College in Wilson, N.C.
The curriculum consists of 144 hours of combined class and lab courses. This will be followed by a 2,000 hour apprenticeship.
The apprenticeship program is recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor as a National Program sponsor, which makes it eligible for state and federal grants. Those who complete the program successfully will be certified as FBA Accredited OpTIC technicians.
The program was announced at Fiber Connect 2021. The FBA represents fiber service providers, manufacturers, industry experts and deployment specialists. The organization cited the growing importance of broadband networks and a parallel shortage of qualified fiber workers as impetus for the program.
“The Fiber Broadband Association is responding to the needs of service providers in anticipation of the U.S. government’s infrastructure plan to dedicate $65 billion on broadband build-outs across the nation,” Mark Boxer, an FBA Board Member, said in a press release. about the fiber technician certification program. “We are addressing the fiber workforce shortage with the OpTIC program, providing relevant training to equip workers with the knowledge and skills needed to build fiber networks.” Boxer is lead for the FBA training and certification program and OFS’s Technical Manager, Solutions and Applications Engineering.
The FBA was one of ten telecom industry associations that cosigned a letter urging Congress and the Biden Administration to support for broadband skills in federal broadband initiatives.
Other signees were the Competitive Carriers Association (CCA), INCOMPAS, NATE: The Communications Infrastructure Contractors Association, NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association, Power & Communication Contractors Association (PCCA), the Telecommunications Industry Association, USTelecom – The Broadband Association, the Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA) and the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA).