Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC), a two-year school in northwest Louisiana, soon will offer the Fiber Broadband Association’s Optical Telecom Installer Certification (OpTIC Path) program, according to the FBA.
OpTIC Path develops the workforce necessary to support increases in fiber network builds that result from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA’s) Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program.
The Connect Louisiana (ConnectLA)’s Office of Broadband Development and Connectivity played a role in connecting BPCC to the OpticPath program. ConnectLA coordinates federal, state and municipal efforts to ensure financial resources are available to promote the adoption and availability of connectivity. ConnectLA worked with BPCC to help ensure that a robust enough workforce to implement the new technology would be available. The goal of the state is to eliminate the digital divide by 2029.
“The OpTIC Path program is one of the most comprehensive workforce training programs, taking individuals with no experience to be field-ready in a short amount of time” Veneeth Iyengar, the Louisiana State Executive Director for Broadband Development and Connectivity at ConnectLA, said in a press release about the FBA fiber installer training news. “That is very valuable as broadband providers look to accelerate fiber rollouts.”
The great growth of fiber deployments is driving the need for fiber technicians. One example is a three-day training course at the State University of New York Westchester Community College (SUNYWCC). The school is offering a three-day program in which enrollment in a degree program is not required.
Another program is in northern Alabama. The Cullman Electric Cooperative has partnered with Cullman Area Technology Academy (CATA) on an initiative to prepare high school students for jobs that could involve both fiber optics and electric lineman work.
And in April, AT&T and Corning said they would create a program to help train technicians in anticipation of the massive investments that are being made in broadband networks.