Fiber Optic

The Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA) and Corning Optical Communications LLC are collaborating on a pre-apprenticeship training program aimed at promoting careers in fiber optics and providing access to industry-recognized programs.

The initiative will be conducted through the WIA’s Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program (TIRAP).

The pre-apprenticeship program will focus on populations that currently are underrepresented in the workforce. Corning Optical Communications LLC is a subsidiary of Corning Inc.

“Pre-apprenticeships and apprenticeships are crucial for recruiting and skilling a diverse workforce capable of meeting the broadband deployment demands of today and tomorrow,” Deb Bennett, WIA’s vice president of Apprenticeship, said in a press release about the Wireless Infrastructure Association training. “We look forward to collaborating with Corning in promoting career awareness in the fiber optic field and connecting more women, people of color, and veterans to TIRAP opportunities at participating employer partners.”

WIA is the national sponsor of TIRAP and is the U.S. Department of Labor’s designated telecom industry intermediary. Its mandates are to expand apprenticeships in the telecommunications industry and accredit employer apprenticeship programs. It also is partnering with 84 employers to provide job opportunities with apprenticeship graduates. More than 3,800 people have participated, according to the press release.

The popularity of broadband-based activities in general and the massive amount of public and private funding being poured into broadband due to the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a shortage of workers. Two examples of training programs aimed at alleviating the crunch were created by AT&T and Corning and by the Fiber Broadband Association and The Learning Alliance.

The AT&T and Corning program was announced last April. Corning said that the Fiber Optic Training Program would include training on optical fiber and networking, network design, hands-on splicing, connectorization, field construction for cable deployment, testing and system turn-up.

The Fiber Broadband Association said in October that The Learning Alliance planned to offer the OpTIC Path program by the end of 2022. The alliance works with 500 employer partners to train candidates in telecommunications. Performed Line Products was to assist in training and VIAVI was to contribute equipment and additional certification in the initiative. It was to take place at the Learning Alliance’s Tampa, FL headquarters.

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