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Louisiana’s New Crop of Fiber Optic Technicians

Robert Davis, 28, was working in construction but looking for a new career that would still provide the outdoor work he craved.

ConnectingUS: High-speed Internet makes a new house a home

A local discipleship program encouraged him to join the inaugural class of the new fiber optic technician program at South Louisiana Community College (SLCC).

Davis landed a job interview before he even graduated from the program. And now he is connecting homes as a Broadband Technician with Optimum. 

“Being able to walk away from a job and say ‘y’all are good to go’, is the most satisfying thing about it,” Davis, of DeRidder, La. said.

Through the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, the Louisiana Broadband Office will allocate SLCC $30 million in funding from NTIA's Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) Program to fund their Broadband Technician programs in anticipation of broadband infrastructure build-out throughout the state.

"This program was designed by business owners throughout the state that serve in the broadband space with a goal to create a pipeline of well-trained individuals to fill entry level workforce needs throughout the industry,” said Charlotte Leleux, Director of the SLCC’s Broadband-Fiber Optic Program. “The broadband training program and its partnerships provide wins for everyone involved - students, the college, and our business & industry partners.” 

Davis, who had completed a few semesters of a technical community college program prior to enrolling in the fiber optic technician program, praised the practical experience he got at SLCC. 

“I’m more of an outside, hands-on worker,” Davis said. “I don’t really care much for computer work. I wouldn’t mind it, but I like being in the elements.”

ConnectingUS: High-speed Internet makes a new house a home

Davis learned about the 20-week fiber optic technician program from The Way Training Center, a local Christian discipleship center that offers a year of vocational training and faith-based leadership development. At the end of the discipleship, program participants are offered a chance to go to school or obtain a Commercial Driver’s License. A staff member at the Way Training Center thought Davis would be a good fit for the program and encouraged him to apply. 

Fiber optic work seemed to be a fast-growing industry. Davis prayed about it, and a few days later was enrolled in SLCC’s Fiber Optic Technician program.

Davis began to see the benefits of the program before he even graduated. He applied for  several broadband technician jobs before graduation.

“They called me up while I was in class and wanted to do an interview.” Days after graduation, he was working in the growing fiber industry.

Why Internet for All matters to me:

“[Fiber] is a growing, widely expanding industry. It is a new demand, and a lot of places just don’t have it. Having to bring infrastructure to place fiber brings lots of jobs (e.g. construction)…so access to it matters because it’s arguably the biggest demand in the United States.” – Robert Davis


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