Louisiana to Leverage the Fiber Broadband Association’s OpTIC Path

Bossier Parish Community College offers Fiber Broadband Association course to build skilled workforce and support ConnectLA aggressive broadband plans.

  • Fiber Broadband Association

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. The Fiber Broadband Association  announced that Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC) in Louisiana will soon offer the FBA Optical Telecom Installer Certification Path (OpTIC Path™) program, with its first course to begin in Fall 2022. BPCC is a two-year community college located in northwest Louisiana near Shreveport, and it is leveraging the Fiber Broadband Association’s program to help reach the state’s impressive goals to close its digital divide by 2029.

The OpTIC Path program is designed to develop the technical workforce needed to support the significant increase in fiber network builds as a result of the NTIA’s Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program funding—the broadband industry’s largest investment cycle to-date.

“Louisiana is experiencing incredible success in gaining resources to connect every resident to high-speed internet. But we’ve still got a long road ahead of us. The OpTIC Path program will help us build a solid workforce foundation to ensure we can make it to the finish line,” said Rick Bateman, Chancellor at Bossier Parish Community College. “We’re in the middle of a tremendous, historic opportunity to transform our state’s digital equity. At BPCC, we build workforces and right now there is no greater need than training folks that can realize the investment in broadband infrastructure. In 20 to 30 years, I think people will say that we really got this right.”

Louisiana’s ConnectLA Office of Broadband Development and Connectivity had a major role in connecting BPCC to the Fiber Broadband Association’s program. The ConnectLA office coordinates federal, state, and municipal efforts and works to ensure financial resources are available to address two pillars of successful connectivity: adoption and availability. However, the lack of skilled fiber technicians significantly impacts providers’ abilities to expand broadband reach. ConnectLA looked to BPCC to improve fiber technician training opportunities to ensure the state would have a strong workforce to support planned fiber network expansions.

“A weak fiber workforce will impede our state from guaranteeing the adoption and availability of high-speed internet for all residents. The support from BPCC has been instrumental in our ability to understand what local community colleges can do to help reduce that risk,” said Veneeth Iyengar, Louisiana State Executive Director for Broadband Development and Connectivity at ConnectLA. “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. That is very valuable as broadband providers look to accelerate fiber rollouts.”

“The state of Louisiana has set aggressive goals to close its digital divide and its proactiveness is paying off in terms of funding and progress. Our program will be a great asset to them. It will help train the workforce needed to keep up with the pace at which they are deploying fiber broadband services,” said Deborah Kish, Vice President of Research and Workforce Development for the Fiber Broadband Association. “BPCC is one of many early adopters of the OpTIC Path program and we’ve encouraged the college to provide us with feedback so that we can keep the program responsive and evolving to needs of the industry.”

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