S&N Communications and VMDAEC are the latest to offer fiber technician training course
The Fiber Broadband Association recently announced that S&N Communications and the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives (VMDAEC) will soon offer the Fiber Broadband Association’s Optical Telecom Installation Certification Path (OpTIC Path) program. Since the launch of the OpTIC Path pilot course in March 2022, the program is being offered or considered by over 40 colleges, learning institutions, and employers in 32 states and two countries outside of the U.S.
“The support we’ve received for the OpTIC Path program is exciting and we’re quickly accelerating toward our goal of bringing the course to all 56 U.S. states and territories. It is an honor to bring the OpTIC Path program to VMDAEC and S&N Communications. Both organizations are well known in the eastern U.S. and have a positive impact on fiber deployments in the region and beyond,” said Deborah Kish, Vice President of Research and Workforce Development at the Fiber Broadband Association. “This partnership will amplify our efforts to train a force of fiber technicians that can safely and efficiently deploy fiber and close the digital equity gap.”
S&N Communications is a resource in both aerial and underground infrastructure for telecommunications, power and gas utilities, and professional services across the eastern half of the U.S. for 45 years. VMDAEC is the trade association for member-owned electric cooperatives in Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. S&N Communications has a long-standing relationship utilizing VMDAEC’s safety and training services to prepare power technicians to support electric cooperative, municipal, and contractor workforce needs. The two organizations will expand their training focus with the OpTIC Path program to grow the fiber technician workforce and support intense fiber network construction plans across the U.S. The VMDAEC operates a state-of-the-art training center with 9,600 square feet of ideal learning environment space for line technicians, system operators, substation operators, and other utility employees. S&N Communications provides instruction, course materials, and field training for VMDAEC courses.
“We’ve worked with S&N Communications for many years, and we look forward to building a partnership with the Fiber Broadband Association on this much needed fiber training initiative,” said Alan Scruggs, Vice President of Safety, Training and Education at Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives. “The FBA has been led by key industry stakeholders since its inception and has become a trusted resource for the industry. The OpTIC Path program is an excellent tool that will accelerate FBA and industry initiatives to increase qualified fiber technicians so we can together advance fiber connectivity in every community.”
“We know that fiber’s impact on quality of life in rural communities will rival that of electricity in the 1930s — it will be life-altering. In order to achieve our nation’s broadband connectivity goals, it is critical that we develop a skilled fiber technician workforce that can build and maintain fiber broadband networks, just as we did for electricity then,” said Andy Gibson, Senior Director at Fiber Optic Services at S&N Communications. “The OpTIC Path program will enable us to address the immediate need for qualified technicians to build reliable, high-speed fiber broadband networks and also support the long-term need for ongoing network management expertise.”
S&N Communications and the VMDAEC plan to launch their first OpTIC Path course in early 2023. They will offer the course to any individual sponsored by a cooperative or company, not just VMDAEC member cooperatives. To learn more about the OpTIC Path program, please visit fiberbroadband.org/page/fba-optic-optical-telecom-installation-certification.
–Report by Ashley Schulte, Connect2 Communications for the Fiber Broadband Association