Fiber Broadband Association’s OpTIC Path program adopted by Sno-Isle TECH high school

May 23, 2024
FBA’s fiber technician and certification program debuts at a technical school in Washington state to jump-start careers in the growing broadband industry.

Sno-Isle TECH Skills Center, a free public school in Everett, Washington, has begun offering junior and senior high school students technical training via FBA’s Optical Telecom Installer Certification (OpTIC Path™) program.

Students who graduate with a certification from this course gain skills to jumpstart a lucrative career in fiber broadband and help fill the critical broadband technician workforce gap that exists across North America.

Growing the fiber broadband workforce is essential as Washington prepares to utilize the $1.2 billion awarded to the state as part of the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program.

Snohomish County, where Sno-Isle TECH is located, is one of the most densely populated and fastest-growing areas in Washington State, with many new homes and businesses to connect. Adding the FBA OpTIC Path program to the Electronics Engineering Technology program will enable Sno-Isle to provide students with hands-on fiber technician training and certification.

“As the fiber workforce continues to age and many technicians near retirement, it’s important to ensure that the next generation of fiber technicians are qualified, ready, and excited to step up,” said Todd Jackson, Director of Workforce Development at the Fiber Broadband Association. “Graduates of this course will be welcomed into a workforce that will remain high in demand for decades to come, offering a well-paid, long-term career, especially in the coming years as BEAD funding begins to rollout.”

However, the partnership with FBA is only one part of the high school’s efforts to offer fiber training.

Sno-Isle also works with local internet service provider Whidbey Telecom to aid instruction. With the help of this local ISP, these future fiber technicians will learn the challenges of the area they will serve before they hit the field, creating a smooth transition from classroom to field. Service providers' involvement is crucial when shaping the next generation of fiber broadband technicians, and they can offer more in-depth insight from their years of deployment experience.

Sno-Isle TECH will launch the OpTIC Path program on May 28, 2024, at its kick-off celebration. Those invited to the festival include workforce development leaders at FBA, directors and staff at Whidbey Telecom, and Washington state elected officials: Senator Maria Cantwell, Governor Jay Inslee, U.S. Representative Rick Larsen (WA-02), and U.S. Representative Suzan DelBene (WA-01).

FBA continues to progress in engaging with local education institutions to adopt its OpTIC Path program.

The organization is engaged with 40 of its targeted 56 states and territories to roll out the OpTIC Path program, with 44 service providers and 70 community colleges and training institutions. 

About the Author

Sean Buckley

Sean is responsible for establishing and executing the editorial strategies of Lightwave and Broadband Technology Report across their websites, email newsletters, events, and other information products.

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