Opelika City Schools in Alabama is looking towards the future for their students. Recently the City of Opelika has worked diligently to becoming the first Gig City in Alabama. Opelika is now one of 48 cities across the United States that offer a gigabyte of data per second to their residents.

Dean Works, information technology teacher at Opelika High School and Kyle Pinckard, Career and Technical Education Director are developing career opportunities for their graduating students. They recognize the job-market’s ever increasing need for technicians with skills and knowledge within connectivity, electronics, as well as emerging technologies. At Opelika High School, students are offered classes in Information Technology over the course of three years. Students in these classes learn the basics of

computer hardware and software. As part of this training in the 2015-2016 school year, Opelika implemented C-Tech’s Network Cabling – Copper Based Systems Program, which not only provides students with the skill sets employers are looking for but also the hands-on experience that will help them further their careers in the future. Since the fall of 2015, Dean Works has successfully certified 75 students as Copper Cabling Specialists through C-Tech’s course provid- ing them with Industry Recognized Certifications.

In an effort to continue this growth, most recently, Opelika has secured a sponsorship with Opelika Power Services (OPS). Through this partnership OPS helped sponsor the implementation of C-Tech’s Network Cabling – Fiber Optics Based Systems in the 2016-2017 school year. OPS confirmed the C-Tech Curriculum matches what they teach their technicians. “We are excited to be able to help sponsor the fiber optic program at Opelika High School,” said June Owens, Manager of Marketing/communications, OPS. “However we are more excited about what this means for students in our community. Who knows, 25 years from now, the director of Opelika Power Services might have gotten their start through this program. That’s pretty neat to think about.”

Opelika City Schools believes students need to develop a deep understanding of essential knowledge and skills. They also need to develop the capacity to apply their learning, to reason, to solve problems, and to produce quality work as they become contributing members of society. “Opelika City Schools is about giving students the skills they need to be successful after high school. The fiber optic certification does exactly that. It provides our students the opportunity to enter college with skills needed to be successful, begin working with OPS, or begin a job with any number of companies looking for people with this skill set.” said Dr. Mark Neighbors, Superintendent, of Opelika City Schools.

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