Fiber Broadband Association heralds technician training program's growth

June 21, 2022
At the Fiber Connect 2022 (June 12-15), the Fiber Broadband Association (FBA) announced that its first class of OpTIC Path technicians has graduated and is ready to support the boom in fiber deployments.
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The Fiber Broadband Association (FBA) recently announced the successful completion of its Optical Telecom Installation Certification Path (OpTIC Path) program pilot course by its first class of OpTIC Path technicians. The news was released at the Fiber Connect 2022 show (June 12-15) in Nashville, Tenn., where the FBA further noted that the program is now expanding across North America.

“Our research tells us that the recent federal funding for broadband infrastructure means that there will be more fiber deployed in the next five years than all the fiber deployed to-date,” said Deborah Kish, vice president of research and workforce development at the FBA. "However, there is a current shortage of skilled workers in the fiber industry, and that will lead to stalled or failed projects and increasing costs. Our OpTIC Path program delivers fiber technicians to help ensure our industry can successfully leverage the monumental opportunity that is in front of us."

As stated by an FBA press release, "The OpTIC Path course is developing the skilled workforce of fiber technicians needed to support the significant increase in fiber network builds planned as the industry enters its largest investment cycle ever."

Introduced at Fiber Connect 2021, the OpTIC Path program was launched at Wilson Community College, with the pilot course starting in March 2022 and successfully concluded this May.

FBA notes it is rapidly expanding the OpTIC Path program working with schools and organizations across 25 states that are interested in the training program.

At Fiber Connect 2022, the FBA further stated that it sold out its first OpTIC Path "Train the Trainer" course, with participation from colleges, contractors, telcos, and electric co-ops. The Train the Trainer course is specially designed to prepare instructors to deliver OpTIC Path course material.

The association emphasized that high schools, trade schools, colleges, the U.S. Department of Labor, state workforce development programs, and veterans’ programs are eager to support and deliver the OpTIC Path course to build the skilled fiber workforce needed to close the digital divide.

“The OpTIC Path training program was designed to provide the knowledge and hands-on skills that new technicians need to build today’s and tomorrow’s fiber networks,” concluded Mark Boxer, technical manager, solutions and applications engineering at OFS; Fiber Broadband Association board member; and lead for the Fiber Broadband Association Training and Certification Program. “We’re very pleased with the success of the pilot course and to see new trainees ready to hit the ground running.”