The $42 million AeroFarm investment (see previous post) isn’t the only cool thing happening in Danville… Amazon Web Services and Sumitomo Electric Lightwave collaborated with Danville Community College to create an innovative fiber-optic fusion splicing certificate. Approximately 30 individuals took part in the December 9-10 course.

Fusion splicing, according to a statement from the Governor’s Office, is the joining of two optical fibers to create a continuous light path that carries data in technologies such as phones, internet, and television. “Through lectures and hands-on lessons, students will become familiar with deploying a passive optical fiber network infrastructure. They will learn real-world deployment techniques with tools ranging from hand tools to state-of-the-art automated fusion splicing technology.”

Amazon Web Services, which is headquartered in Northern Virginia, is driving fiber-optic cable innovation, releasing new hyperscale products and solutions for the next generation of fiber-optic networks. The company needs to train workers to install and operate this state-of-the-art equipment, and has enlisted Sumitomo Electric Lightwave to host certificate courses at local community colleges across the U.S.

“Virginia is the home of many high-density data centers,” noted Nobuyuki Suzuki, President and CEO of Sumitomo Electric Lightwave. “Together with AWS and Danville Community College, SEL is committed to ensuring Virginia has a prepared workforce capable of creating and sustaining next-generation fiber optic infrastructures.”

Bacon’s bottom line: This is a great example of how Virginia corporations can collaborate with community colleges to train workers for technology-related occupations. I’d be curious to know how much the program costs, who’s coughing up the dough for it, and how much students are paying out of their own pockets. Governor Ralph Northam wants to budget $145 million in the next two-year budget to provide free tuition, fees and textbooks for lower-income students wanting to enter high-demand occupations. If an occupation is in high demand, why shouldn’t the businesses creating that demand foot the bill to train the workers they’ll end up hiring? Why stick that cost on the general taxpayer?

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11 responses to “A Fruitful Collaboration”

  1. LarrytheG Avatar

    More examples of viable 21st century jobs that do not cost near as much as traditional 4 year college nor put the person into decades long debt.

    There are options like this – everywhere – at most Community Colleges. There is no shame is a stepping-stone approach to a good job and a good life – free of debt.

    Those who cling to this idea that only a traditional full-boat, on-campus 4 year education are living in the past and worse than that – the debt they take on is irresponsible on it’s face AND expecting the government to “help” on tuition and debt is the antithesis of professed Conservative theology.

    1. VDOTyranny Avatar

      This is really not newsworthy, more like just fancy descriptions intended to bedazzle. The tools aren’t cheap (for an indviual tradesman), but fusing fiber optic is neither hard nor cutting edge.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        Tis truth but the truth is that it takes some level of education to do it.

      2. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
        Reed Fawell 3rd

        VDOTyranny said. “This is really not newsworthy, more like just fancy descriptions intended to bedazzle …”

        VDOTyranny, I understand how one might conclude this on a first impression without context, but in fact this development is extremely newsworthy. Most likely it signals a whole new and better future for many parts of Virginia.

  2. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
    Reed Fawell 3rd

    So here we go, the revival and Renaissance of rural small towns and cities in Virginia, a new web of vibrant connectivity spinning off benefits that are spreading out across Virginia’s landscape now, suddenly offering everything new from winter blueberries to electric light waves, and much, much more in between. All as predicted again and again on Bacon’s Rebellion. And most wonderful of all is that all this wealth and health has just started.

  3. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
    Dick Hall-Sizemore

    I find it surprising that this training was held at DCC, rather than Northern Virginia Community College, considering the concentration of data centers in Northern Virginia. Nevertheless, I am glad that it was held in Danville because that area needs all the positive exposure it can get.

    I tend to agree with Jim about the industry paying for this training. From what I can tell from the DCC website, this training is/was not part of the regular DCC curriculum. In fact, some DCC instructors were members of the training class. I have asked some for some follow-up information.

    1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
      Reed Fawell 3rd

      Expect more of this. Some very smart and ambitious folks are building a whole new world out across the Virginia countryside. This is a new world in that it creates new wealth where none has been before, instead of redistributing (giving away) other peoples’ money.

  4. djrippert Avatar

    This sounds great. I doubt it will mean much in the way of jobs in Danville since the splicers have to go to where the fiber needs splicing. Carrier networks and data centers come to my mind. I’m glad AWS is helping with this. I’ll be even happier if AWS finds work (somewhere, anywhere) for the graduates of this two day course. And no public money. Yeah!

  5. djrippert Avatar

    AWS is not headquartered in Northern Virginia. It is headquartered in Seattle, WA (440 Terry Ave to be specific). AWS does have its East Coast corporate headquarters in NoVa and will, no doubt, expand its presence in NoVa with the Potomac Landing build out.

  6. djrippert Avatar

    The question of non-competes comes up in my mind. Any state can allow non-competes or not for people working in that state. Famously, California bans almost all non-competes. I think Virginia should allow companies to enter into non-compete agreements with Virginia employees only if the company can demonstrate a certain amount of training provided to employees or citizens at large. The company can decide – provide the training and enter into non-competes or don’t provide the training and forfeit the non-competes. Since companies often cite losing their training investment as a basis for non-competes let them demonstrate that investment.

    Normally a libertarian would say that a person and a company can enter into any mutually agreeable (and legal) contract. However, corporations are, by their nature, coercive. The balance of power between the corporation and the employee is asymmetric. Given that, I believe it is reasonable for government to intervene to make sure that coercive corporations do not trample on an individual’s right to work.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      Wow – that’s a whole different concept of “right to work”, eh?

      All this foolishness about unions and here we have employers who essentially deny people the right to seek a better job with better pay from a competitor.

      I’d be curious to know what Jim B thinks of this. Do you support the current practice of non-competes?

      On that basis alone – the worker is better off getting his skills and education from a non-coercive source, no?

      THis is an example of how the world has changed as well as how the worker has essentially lost a right they used to have in the past.

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