Louisiana to Leverage Fiber Broadband Association’s OpTIC Path

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

  • Fiber Broadband Association

WASHINGTON, DC 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 the first course beginning in fall 2022. BPCC is a one-year community college located in northwest Louisiana near Shreveport, and it relies on the Fiber Broadband Association program to help achieve the state’s impressive goals of bridging its digital divide of here 2029.

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

“Louisiana has been incredibly successful in securing resources to connect every resident to high-speed internet. But we still have a long way ahead of us. The OpTIC Path program will help us build a strong workforce base to ensure we can reach the finish line,” said Rick Bateman, Chancellor of Bossier Parish Community College. “We are in the midst of a tremendous, historic opportunity to transform our state’s digital equity. At BPCC, we train people and right now there is no greater need than to train people who can make the investment in broadband infrastructure possible. In 20 to 30 years, I think people will say that we have really succeeded. »

The ConnectLA Office of Louisiana Broadband Development and Connectivity played a major role in connecting the BPCC to the Fiber Broadband Association program. The ConnectLA office coordinates federal, state, and municipal efforts and ensures that financial resources are available to meet the two pillars of successful connectivity: adoption and availability. However, the lack of qualified fiber technicians has a significant impact on the ability of providers to extend broadband reach. ConnectLA turned to BPCC to enhance training opportunities for fiber optic technicians to ensure the state has a strong workforce to support planned fiber optic network expansions.

“A weak fiber workforce will prevent our state from ensuring the adoption and availability of high-speed internet for all residents. BPCC’s support has been instrumental in our ability to understand what the 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 the most comprehensive workforce training, allowing people with no experience to be ready in the field in a short time. This is very valuable as broadband providers seek to accelerate fiber deployments.

“The State of Louisiana has set ambitious goals to close its digital divide and its proactivity is paying off in terms of funding and progress. Our program will be a great asset to them. It will help train the workforce necessary to keep up with the pace at which they are rolling out fiber broadband services,” said Deborah Kish, vice president of workforce research and development for the Fiber Broadband Association. “BPCC is one of the many early adopters of the OpTIC Path program and we have encouraged the college to provide us with feedback so that we can keep the program responsive and scalable to industry needs.”