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Eleven Gateway Students Certified As Fiber Outside Plant Technicians By Fiber Optics Association

One hundred percent of the students enrolled in the outside plant technician course at Gateway Community & Technical College recently became Certified Fiber Outside Plant Technicians (CFospT)as a result of passing the internationally recognized CFospT test administered by the Fiber Optic Association.

We made history this past semester at Gateway by changing the way we deliver technical courses and labs to be accessible using different media and by offering a hands-on course that covers communication systems used by the energy industry, said Gateway Professor Thomas Collins.

Collins, a member of the Fiber Optics Association board for 10 years and an advisory board member for 15 years, explained that the Outside Plant Technician course teaches students how to install and operate communication systems located outside of buildings. It includes smart grid technology, fiber optic systems, Power Line Carriers and cellular technology, as well as wireless systems and copper cable systems.

A smart grid is an electricity network that uses digital technology to deliver power from suppliers to consumers via two-way digital communications. The technology saves energy, reduces costs and increases reliability and transparency.

Students were required to build a smart grid system made of 10 kilometers of fiber optic cable with connectors and splices to mirror workplace conditions. The students then had to use meters to troubleshoot faults set up by the instructor.

The outside plant technician certification course is an outgrowth of Gateway's lineman-training program funded by a Department of Labor grant.

The smart grid installed in our area enabled us to develop a new worker classification called the Outside Plant Technician, increasing the value we offer students and employers, Collins said. Support from our industry partners, including the Gateway Energy Committee, the Fiber Optic Association, the Bowlin Group, and Corning Cable, was a vital component in creating the course that prepares students for high-wage, high-demand jobs.

For more information about the course, contact Collins at or 859-442-4106.