Cable technical training company Jones/NCTI has initiated a program to train underserved high-school students and displaced workers to become cable installers.

The pilot program was announced yesterday at Montbello High School in Denver.

Montbello serves students who, according to the school’s web site, come from “neighborhoods (that) are comprised primarily of working class and middle class single family homes.”

Called the Broadband Opportunity Learning Development (BOLD) program, the installer training begins next week with 16 high-school students and one displaced worker.

“After the program, the students will be ready to do voice, video and high-speed data installs,” President of Jones/NCTI Robyn McVicker said.

The students will take Jones’s Installer Qualification (IQ) program, the same online course used by cable MSO and independent contractor trainees. The IQ program will take the BOLD students a minimum of five weeks to complete.

In addition to their online work, the students will get hands-on training in a mocked-up residence—actually a shed donated by Tuff Shed—outfitted as a scaled version of a typical home setting.

For the Denver project, the Urban League of Metropolitan Denver and Hope Online Learning Academy Co-Op partnered with Jones to identify and recruit student candidates. The students had to go through an application process and then the partners made their selections. The program could grow.

“After the first program, we would like to train as many as 200 (students) per year,” President and CEO of the Urban League of Metro Denver Landri Taylor said.

The Urban League and Hope Online will assist graduates in looking for broadband jobs after they complete the Jones training.

McVicker said after working out the kinks with the Denver pilot, Jones plans to approach the national Urban League to hopefully expand the program to other areas. The company is also discussing the program with a number of cable operators throughout the country.

The pilot program appears to be getting funded mainly through donations from its partners, but for an expanded national program Vickers said Jones would have more information about that later.

–Linda Hardesty

The Daily

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