Northeast Mississippi Community College (NEMCC) will soon offer the Optical Telecom Installer
Certification Path (OpTIC Path) program created by the Fiber Broadband Association (FBA). The FBA fiber training program is aimed at helping to combat a severe shortage of skilled fiber technicians, a situation that is becoming more critical as the number of fiber installations continues to grow.
Seeing that need, several other community colleges are also offering fiber installation training programs, with Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC) in Northwest Louisiana announcing its program, also based on the FBA program, just last week.
NEMCC has a curriculum division solely focused on workforce training in which it helps students upgrade in-demand skills. Fiber technicians are needed in the state because Mississippi is currently experiencing accelerated fiber deployment growth due to state and federal infrastructure funding.
Additionally, new types of companies are starting to deploy fiber, like electric cooperatives and other private companies, so they need fully trained workers to achieve network construction and management goals.
NEMCC is already working with local fiber network operators, including Alcorn County Electric Power Association, Tippah Electric Power Association, and Tombigbee Fiber to find course instructors and to ensure training is specialized to local requirements.
“We are pleased to see the OpTIC Path program grow and become integrated into more training facilities and colleges, like NEMCC,” said Deborah Kish, Fiber Broadband Association vice president of research and workforce development, in a prepared statement. “There are so many states, cities, and neighborhoods that are working hard to connect their communities to high-quality fiber broadband services, but there is still an immense workforce gap that is inhibiting them from deploying that fiber quickly. Our OpTIC Path program addresses that challenge with the right tools to quickly train skilled fiber technicians and our partnering training facilities help ensure they are placed with the fiber providers that need them most.”