ICN and Ottumwa Job Corps Center Collaborate to Give Students Telecom Awareness

The ICN is collaborating with the Ottumwa Job Corps Center, to connect future network cabling technicians with Iowa’s telecommunications industry.

ICN is launching the Peer to Career program to give Ottumwa’s Job Corps student trainees exclusive exposure to a variety of Iowa telecom companies. In this program, the students will hear from industry representatives explaining outside plant work, fiber optic cabling, network troubleshooting, facilities, and more. As an added benefit, the Peer to Career program will highlight the partnerships that the ICN has with the private sector, give exposure to projects that rely on the statewide fiber optic network, provide infrastructure knowledge, and incorporate cybersecurity practices.

The Peer to Career program aims to pave the way for participating young adults who are currently honing their vocational skills through their training, says Lindsay Cale, Center Director at Ottumwa Job Corps. “Ottumwa Job Corps is thrilled to announce our collaboration with the ICN on a groundbreaking initiative: the “Peer to Career program”! At Ottumwa Job Corps, we believe in unlocking potential and creating pathways to success. The Peer to Career program, in conjunction with ICN, embodies this vision, providing our students with the tools they need to build prosperous futures,” Cale adds.

The statewide fiber optic Network is built on public-private partnerships. “This partnership seems like a natural fit. We operate the fiber optic infrastructure, and this is an opportunity that we can mentor the next generation of future technicians. By partnering with the industry, we can create opportunities for these young technicians to familiarize them with the network landscape and provide career direction,” said Randy Goddard, ICN Executive Director.

The students will receive hands-on experiences and exposure to the world of telecommunications and networking. “Students will have the chance to learn directly from ICN experts and their network of employers, regarding gaining practical skills and industry knowledge that will set them up for long-term career growth,” added Cale.

Networking with telecommunications professionals and individuals in diverse IT disciplines is beneficial to trainees in the Network Cable Installation (NCI) program. “These networking links inspire their imagination, create mentorship opportunities, and provide direction and support throughout their careers,” said Dan Whelan, NCI instructor at the Ottumwa Job Corps Center.

“Partnering with the ICN in the Peer to Career program provides Job Corps trainees an opportunity to discover career pathways, internships, and apprenticeship opportunities, all while building their communication, interpersonal, and networking abilities, all of which are important in professional settings,” added Whelan.

ICN’s Peer to Career program is similar to ICN’s existing Statewide Youth Broadband Advisory Council (SYBAC) which focuses on high school aged students, and is scheduled to begin on August 14. The students will meet monthly and hear from internal ICN groups, ICN partners, and the private sector such as: Fiberutilities Network Services, KLK Construction, Lumen, Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, RHT Technologies, Microsoft (West Des Moines Datacenter), Lightedge Solutions, Panduit, and others. The student trainees will also work through a cybersecurity certification from Fortinet.

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