DOTHAN – More than $400 million in federal funding for broadband across Alabama means a greater demand for fiber optics technicians and installers. The Alabama Community College System has a no-cost training program to get residents ready for these job opportunities at colleges across the state.
At an announcement on Tuesday at Wallace Community College in Dothan, Governor Kay Ivey said the funds will be used to expand access to high-speed internet across Alabama. She also unveiled a new website to help Alabamians track the expansion of high-speed internet.
A record number of residents are already training for fiber optics technician and installer jobs through the Alabama Community College System’s Skills for Success fiber optics technician training. The two-part training starts with a self-paced, interactive theory portion that covers industry standards and best practices. After residents complete the online portion, they advance to two days of hands-on training with qualified instructors at any of the state’s 24 community and technical colleges.
“These dollars will play a major role in giving currently unserved families, schools, business and entire areas of our state the ability to access high-speed internet,” Gov. Ivey said. “With these resources, we are investing in the future of the people who call our state home.”
The community colleges’ fiber optic technician and installer training programs were developed by the Alabama Community College System Innovation Center alongside fiber optic employers and instructors in Alabama. This development is the core of all Skills for Success classes, which launched last year through the support of the Alabama Legislature to address skills gaps by providing rapid, no-cost training for in-demand occupations throughout the state. Skills for Success brings together the state’s community and technical colleges, business and industry, and community partners to deliver the training.
Salaries for fiber optics technicians have increased by 12% in the past five years, and demand for these professionals is expected to increase by 8% by 2031, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
After announcing the $400 million in funds, Gov. Ivey watched an instructor and students demonstrate part of the fiber optic training course at Wallace Community College.
“The Alabama Community College System is continually working alongside business, industries, employers and community partners as a solution to increasing Alabama’s labor force participation rate,” said Jimmy H. Baker, Chancellor of the Alabama Community College System.
“We must continue providing accessible training opportunities so residents can be equipped with the skills they need to succeed in the evolving job market and support our state’s economy.”
More than 5,000 residents have registered for Skills for Success training since it started in 2022 for training to work in the construction, hospitality, trucking, and grocery industries. Certifications within weeks’ time have included a CDL and forklift operator certification.
To learn more about Skills for Success and to register for training, call 1-855-206-2671 or visit innovation.accs.edu