(TNS) — VERSAILLES, Ky. — The Kentucky Community and Technical College (KCTCS) Board of Regents approved a new associate degree program in broadband technology — the first in Kentucky and just the third in the United States — for Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC) at its meeting on Friday.
BSCTC President Dr. Devin Stephenson, Dean of Academic Affairs Myra Elliott, Kelli Hall, interim dean of career education and workforce development, and Joe Compton, professor of electricity/electronics technology presented the proposal to the board of regents. The broadband technology program will be divided into the three tracks — Broadband Technician, Broadband Telecommunications Equipment Installer and Broadband Design and Applications. The program will begin this fall.
"This program correlates with the collaborative efforts of Congressman [Hal] Rogers, SOAR (Shaping Our Appalachian Region), ONE East Kentucky, our local chambers of commerce and existing business and industry," said Dr. Stephenson. "The installation and maintenance of this expansive broadband network across eastern Kentucky will provide a wealth of opportunity for gainful employment. Additionally, the network will position eastern Kentucky for economic development opportunities."
The Broadband Technician track will prepare students for jobs in the installation and splicing of Hybrid Fiber Cable (HFC), as well as basic telephony installation and maintenance, outside pole climbing and construction safety. This will also include components of electrical construction in areas of Fiber Optic and Data Cable installations.
Students who complete the Broadband Telecommunications Equipment Installer program will learn skills associated with computer hardware and software, graphical information systems, and functions and operations of public branch exchange systems.
The Broadband Design and Applications track prepares students to work in the areas of GIS (Graphical Information Systems), security systems, HFC splicing and maintenance, and the basic installation, alignment, testing and troubleshooting for satellite systems and National Electric Code (NEC) for installation of communication cables and systems according to the National Fire Protection Association.
"This is an exciting new program that will provide innovative opportunities for students to learn a globally competitive skill that will lead to gainful employment," said Elliott. BSCTC will break ground later this year on a $4.5 million Advanced Technology Center, also the first in Kentucky. This was made possible by a $2.3 grant by the Economic Development Agency and $500,000 each from the Appalachian Regional Commission and Community Development Block Grant. "We must be adaptive and responsive to the needs of business and industry as our economy changes."
Hall said the program will provide additional pathways beyond the certifications offered in Fiber Optics through the college's workforce solutions division.
"The degree program is the latest addition to our stackable credentials for broadband technology," she said. "Our hope is to continue to provide pathways for baccalaureate degrees with our four-year partners."
©2016 The Hazard Herald (Hazard, Ky.), distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.