Academic institutions to offer bicsis Apprentice program

A vocational school in Zanesville, OH, will be the first of many academic institutions throughout the nation to offer bicsi`s (Tampa, FL) Cabling Installation Apprentice program. According to Larry Hamlin, coordinator of industrial programs at the Mideast Ohio Vocational School, the school`s first apprentice course began late last month.

--Patrick McLaughlin

A vocational school in Zanesville, OH, will be the first of many academic institutions throughout the nation to offer bicsi`s (Tampa, FL) Cabling Installation Apprentice program. According to Larry Hamlin, coordinator of industrial programs at the Mideast Ohio Vocational School, the school`s first apprentice course began late last month.

The Mideast Ohio Vocational School is the first academic institution to take advantage of bicsi`s offer to let such institutions provide the training. According to Jay Warmke, bicsi`s executive director, the organization has invited community colleges and technical schools nationwide to offer the apprentice program. "We`re trying to get the program into the hands of people who are tasked with educating the entry-level people in a technical industry such as installation," he says.

Warmke adds that another goal is to make training accessible to apprentice-level professionals. "When you`re talking about a beginning level for an installer, you have to get the education to them. Nobody`s going to pay for them to travel to a training course. And it has to be at a reasonable cost. Community colleges and trade schools meet both requirements because nearly everybody has access to a trade school or community college, and almost all of them have fee structures that are extremely reasonable."

Warmke also says it has been bicsi`s intention to offer this training through local institutions. "One of the cornerstones of this installation program from the outset is that bicsi did not want to be the sole source of it. It won`t work if we`re the only ones doing it. We need governmental acceptance, educational acceptance, and industry-wide acceptance. We know our own limitations. There`s such a [huge] market for this type of training, that there`s no way we could adequately serve it."

bicsi has also taken steps to minimize the program`s start-up costs. Warmke says the "training for trainers" class, in which bicsi certifies the individuals who will teach the apprentice course, is offered to academic institutions at about half its regular price. Also, an academic institution has the option of participating in the standard site inspection conducted by a bicsi inspector at a cost of approximately $3000, or of making a comprehensive video of its lab facilities and sending the tape to bicsi.

According to Warmke, the program "lays the groundwork for the workforce of the future." He says the initial investments made by bicsi most likely will benefit the organization and the entire industry. "All of the people coming through the program will have an understanding of what bicsi is and the services it offers. But they will also have a good understanding of the standards for quality and craftsmanship that the industry needs in its installation environment."

The program is open to all interested community colleges and technical schools. So far, hundreds of institutions have requested the 28-page brochure that explains the course.

For more information, call bicsi at (800) 242-7405 or browse its Web site at www.bicsi.org.

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