Erie County Community College offers FBA’s OpTIC Path fiber installer training program

Aug. 9, 2023
College partners with FBA and VNet Fiber to train fiber technicians and connect communities.

Erie County Community College has added the Fiber Broadband Optical Telecom Installer Certification (OpTIC Path™) program to its curriculum to accelerate fiber technician training.

The timing to enhance the fiber installation workforce has become a key concern as service providers are looking to build or expand fiber broadband networks and take advantage of the momentous opportunity that the NTIA’s $42.45 billion BEAD fund creates.

However, a significant gap in skilled technicians capable of deploying the fiber that can connect America to high-quality broadband remains. FBA’s OpTIC Path program works to eliminate this workforce shortage so that the fiber broadband industry can close the digital equity gap.

FBA’s OpTIC Path continues to gain interest. Today, the FBA is engaged with 39 states to roll out the OpTIC Path program, with 40 service providers, 67 community colleges and training institutions, and electric cooperatives in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Tennessee, and Oklahoma that have either adopted or are interested in the program. The program is gaining support from employers across the fiber broadband industry, working closely with schools and training facilities so they can hire certified technicians as soon as they are ready to enter the workforce.

Erie County Community College is America’s newest community college focused on workforce development in northwest Pennsylvania.

“The OpTIC Path program will deliver new job opportunities for Erie County that will have an immediate and long-lasting impact on workforce development,” said Rebecca Walker, Dean of Workforce Development at Erie County Community College. “This course is an exciting addition to our school, and we look forward to seeing certified technicians help connect our communities for years to come.”

The college is partnering with VNet Fiber—the region’s only locally owned and operated Internet Service Provider. Graduates of the OpTIC Path program will create a pipeline of talent that will support VNet Fiber’s plans to expand its fiber optic network.

“To meet our growth goals, we must maintain a fluid pipeline of skilled fiber technicians. The OpTIC Path program and our partnership with Erie County Community College will accomplish that,” said Matt Wiertel, Director of Sales and Business Development for VNet Fiber. “This collaboration will ensure that we can safely deploy fiber to our communities, maintain efficiency, and ensure our residents and businesses have access to high-quality broadband.”