Northwood Technical College in Wisconsin is working to address broadband workforce development challenges in rural communities by developing an innovative online training program in partnership with NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association. Northwood Tech’s Broadband Academy is self-paced and open-ended so that students can learn on their own timeline, wherever convenient.
It is the partnership with broadband service providers that makes this program unique. Employees of broadband service providers (BSP) are the target audience for the Northwood Tech training. The BSP provides the lab setting through the work environment and their existing equipment. NTC supplies the theory part of the courses.
By working with NTCA, Northwood Tech is expanding this program nationwide. The program has two NTCA Badge programs (Broadband Customer Service & Broadband Installer) and a third program dealing with IT topics. The NTCA Badge is valuable to both the employee and employer as it provides an indication of the employee’s (or potential employee’s) level of competence Intended as base-level knowledge, Northwood Tech’s Broadband Academy complements supplier-specific software and equipment training.
The online nature of this program eliminates the need to physically be at one of Northwood Tech’s Wisconsin campuses. By using broadband to teach broadband, Northwood Tech and NTCA, and its member companies are fulfilling their pledge to the White House “to support equitable workforce development in critical infrastructure sectors, like broadband.”
- 00:25 – Dr. John Will, president of Northwood Technical College, explains that they have been working for 40 years in workforce development in the telecommunications sector.
- 01:00 – What makes the program unique is the close relationship with employers.
- 01:53 – The badges provide a recognizable stamp of approval.
- 02:25 – The students have been pleased with the program.
- 03:31 – The employer supplies the lab.
- 04:27 – Registration can either be through the employer with Northwood Tech billing the employer directory or directly from the student.
- 05:08 – It is a nationwide program.
- 05:44 – It is a complement to supplier-specific training programs.
- 06:36 – This is an opportunity to show career paths to youth who otherwise would not consider the broadband industry.
ViodiTV coverage of NTCA’s RTIME 2023 courtesy of Calix.