BSCTC, UPIKE announce creation of Kentucky Regional Telecommunications Program

PIKEVILLE – Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC), its Workforce Solutions division and the University of Pikeville (UPIKE) announce the creation of the Kentucky Regional Telecommunications Installation and Maintenance Training Program. The program, the first of its kind in Eastern Kentucky, correlates with the construction of the Kentucky Information Highway (I-Highway), which is set to begin in August. The Telecommunications Installation and Maintenance Training Program is set to begin on July 27. Sanctioned by the Fiber-Optics Association (FOA), BSCTC will offer a trio of certifications taught by Austin, Texas-based BDI DataLynk, an internationally recognized fiber-optic training company.

The certifications include: Certified Fiber Optics Technician (CFOT) (24 hours, three days); Certified Fiber Optics Specialist in Testing and Maintenance (CFOS/T) (16 hours, two days); Certified Fiber Optics Specialist in Splicing (CFOS/S) (16 hours, two days).

“Our region is poised to stand on the right side of the digital divide and the world-class connectivity that comes with the Kentucky Information Highway brings a wealth of potential for new investments from business and industry,” said Dr. Devin Stephenson, president of BSCTC. “It is important that our college be responsive during these exciting times and work collaboratively with regional partners.” The certification courses are part of an expansive stackable credential program that can lead to an associate degree at BSCTC. The college and UPIKE are discussing ways to provide a seamless transfer to a baccalaureate degree in telecommunications. “It is the responsibility of the colleges and universities serving Eastern Kentucky to prepare our workforce for the jobs that are going to be available,” said Paul E. Patton, interim president and chancellor at the UPIKE. “A partnership between the university and Big Sandy Community and Technical College is the most efficient way to achieve this goal. The program is among the many ways we can, and do, work together to serve the people of our region.” Jeff Whitehead, executive director of the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. (EKCEP), said his organization is providing financial support because “it’s a good investment into our workforce.” “This is a great opportunity to gain valuable skills in just seven days to prepare for jobs we know are coming to the region,” said Whitehead. EKCEP is the workforce investment board that serves 23 counties in eastern Kentucky. Jim Hayes, president of FOA, added: “FOA is very pleased to be working with Big Sandy Community and Technical College and BDI Datalynk to support the Kentucky Regional Telecommunications Installation and Maintenance Training Program. Fiber optic communications is the No. 1 priority for communities in the 21st century. It powers the future economy and brings economic development to those communities which recognize its importance.” Jared Arnett, executive director of Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR), said he is encouraged by local leaders taking commitments to help the region overcome obstacles.” “The partnership between BSCTC and UPIKE is a clear sign that they share in the belief in belonging to a unified region,” said Arnett. “This telecommunications project will pave the way for broadband technology and future economic development opportunities for eastern Kentucky.” For more information contact Kelli Hall at 606-218-1275 or email

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