By Russell Moore
MONTGOMERY – Salaries and demand for fiber optic technicians and installers are on the rise, and starting this week rapid, no-cost training is available for these jobs at community colleges across the state.
Through the Alabama Community College System’s Skill for Success program, Alabamians can learn how to install and maintain fiber optic networks in less than a week.
The training can be completed quickly because part of the course is done online with interactive learning that is self-paced. Upon completing the online portion of the course, trainees then complete two days of hands-on training with qualified instructors at any of the 24 community and technical colleges around the state.
The training is offered at no cost to participants thanks to appropriations from the Alabama Legislature.
The course was developed by the Innovation Center, a division of the Alabama Community College System that brings together the state’s community colleges, industries and community partners to deliver Skills for Success training.
“Today’s communication networks depend on fiber optic connectivity, so the demand for a skilled fiber optic workforce is critical and growing,” said Jimmy H. Baker, Chancellor of the Alabama Community College System. “By delivering rapid training, Skills for Success quickly provides the training that can lead to immediate employment.”
The online coursework covers the fundamentals of fiber optics, including industry standards and best practices. Participants then receive hands-on training when they learn how to install, test and maintain fiber optic cables, as well as how to troubleshoot and maintain fiber optic systems.
“When you walk out of here you’re going to have opportunities to say that you know how to terminate fiber, you know how to test fiber, you know how this works,” said Josh Byars, an employee with Joe Wheeler FlashFiber who served as the hands-on instructor for the fiber optic training pilot course at Wallace Community College in Dothan.
Salaries for fiber technicians have increased by 12 percent in the past five years and demand for these professionals is expected to increase by eight percent by the year 2031, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Participants who complete the training also earn an ACCS Credential, which signals to businesses that the individual has mastered the skills taught in the program and is immediately ready for employment. The ACCS Credential can also be used as a foundation for additional classes and training at Alabama community colleges.
“The number one challenge for most businesses right now is finding and retaining a skilled workforce. Skills for Success training is developed in partnership with Alabama industries so it is customized with input from employers for jobs that are in high demand,” said Keith Phillips, Vice Chancellor of Workforce and Economic Development for the Alabama Community College System.
Those interested in learning more and signing up for the training can go online to innovation.accs.edu.
NOTE: Click on this link to watch a 60-second video showing students being trained during the pilot course at Wallace Community College in Dothan and comments from instructor Josh Byars.Click on this link to view an attached photo of the training. Photo caption: Students receive no-cost, rapid training to become fiber optic technicians and installers during a recent Skills for Success course.
About Skills for Success
Skills for Success is the rapid workforce training program launched by the Alabama Community College System in 2022. The program addresses the skills gap and provides Alabamians with the training needed for in-demand careers. Skills for Success is one of the training programs offered by the ACCS Innovation Center, a division of the Alabama Community College System. The Innovation Center brings together community colleges, business and industry, and community partners to create and deliver training programs that are tailed to the needs of the state. The Innovation Center is committed to building a skilled workforce in Alabama through accessible, industry-recognized training programs that prepare individuals for success careers. To learn more about the Innovation Center and its programs, visit innovation.accs.edu.