Press Releases

Northeast Mississippi Community College addresses need for fibre optic technicians with Fibre Broadband Association’s OpTIC path course

September 23, 2022

Posted by: Shriya Raban

Washington, D.C. 20 September 2022 – The Fibre Broadband Association has announced that Northeast Mississippi Community College (NEMCC) will soon offer the Optical Telecom Installer Certification Path (OpTIC Path) programme. The fibre workforce training course will enable NEMCC to support local fibre broadband network growth and help close the digital divide in Northeast Mississippi.

NEMCC has a curriculum division solely focused on workforce training where it helps participants upgrade skills that local companies require. NEMCC works closely with local communities and industries to understand what type of skilled labor is needed and tailors its Workforce curriculum to support those needs. Mississippi is currently experiencing accelerated fibre deployment growth due to state and federal infrastructure funding and traditional fibre providers need more skilled technicians to keep up with demand. Furthermore, new types of companies are starting to deploy fibre, like electric cooperatives and other private companies, and they need to hire fully-trained workers to be efficient and gain competitiveness.

“There is an obvious opportunity for the fibre industry in Northeast Mississippi. Our state and local leaders are working hard to close the digital divide, and a lot of local industries rely on fibre broadband services to support their transition to smart communications and Internet of Things initiatives,” says Greg James, assistant workforce director at Northeast Mississippi Community College. “Our Workforce training curriculum is built to be agile and flexible and to provide immediate relief to local industries, especially in times of transition. The OpTIC Path course is an exciting new addition to our Workforce program. It will enable our college to support the immense opportunity that fibre brings to our students and communities.”

“We are pleased to see the OpTIC Path program grow and become integrated into more training facilities and colleges, like NEMCC,” says Deborah Kish, vice president of research and workforce development at the Fibre Broadband Association. “There are so many states, cities, and neighborhoods that are working hard to connect their communities to high-quality fibre broadband services, but there is still an immense workforce gap that is inhibiting them from deploying that fibre quickly. Our OpTIC Path program addresses that challenge with the right tools to quickly train skilled fibre technicians and our partnering training facilities help ensure they are placed with the fibre providers that need them most.”

NEMCC is already working with local fibre network operators like Alcorn County Electric Power Association, Tippah Electric Power Association, and Tombigbee Fibre to ensure training is specialised to local requirements, to source OpTIC Path course instructors, and to help draft grant funding proposals to purchase training equipment. The college expects to offer its OpTIC Path course in early 2023.

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