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PANGAEA Scholarship Program and Application

Fiber Optic 1-2-3 Training

Mission:

E-Polk, Inc. dba PANGAEA Internet (“PANGAEA”) is a community led, nonprofit 501(C)(3) corporation. Our mission is to deliver affordable, reliable connectivity and services for our region that will enhance economic development, improve the quality of life, and create a broad platform of innovation enabling underserved areas. Since our founding by community leaders in 2003 we have built a 240 mile fiber optic network in Polk and Rutherford Counties in western North Carolina. PANGAEA currently provides high speed bandwidth and transport to 165 customers in our four target markets: 1) health care, 2) education, 3) government, and 4) commercial.

Situation:

There is a shortage of fiber optic splicing technicians to serve rural areas, like Polk and Rutherford Counties, NC. This shortage impacts the ability of PANGAEA and other internet service providers to install, maintain, and repair the fiber optic infrastructure required to bridge the digital divide and bring high speed internet to rural communities. This program will provide scholarships for The Light Brigade’s Fiber Optics 1-2-3 training course as well as fiber optic certification.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the demand for fiber optic splicing positions will be strong during the next five years. According to www.payscale.com, the average salary for fiber optic splicers ranges from $31K – $86K annually. The average annual pay is $56K or $26/hour according to www.indeed.com.

Job training in Polk and Rutherford Counties is a high priority. These counties are rural with a total population of 88,000 representing an average of only 112 people per square mile. Since 2000, the area has suffered from a decline in many industries, including the textile, housing and manufacturing sectors.

Scholarship:

PANGAEA will provide two $750 scholarships to attend the four day Fiber Optic 1-2-3 training course to be held on July 18 – 21, 2017 in Spartanburg, SC. The total cost of the program plus certification for each student is $1,510. Each scholarship award winner will be responsible for the remaining $760 of the total cost.

Training Program:

This four-day class has been developed with 16 hours of classroom and 16 hours of hands-on skills labs to provide practical understanding and skills required to properly design, install, and maintain fiber optic networks. Students will use the latest fiber optic technology and equipment to learn how to splice, connect, test, and troubleshoot optical fiber networks in order to increase efficiency, reliability and on-the-job safety as well as reduce cost and downtime. The funds will also be used to certify each student through the Electronics Technicians Association (ETA). ETA-certified technicians are professionally recognized as having the knowledge and skills to meet international de facto electronics industry standards.

Target Market:

PANGAEA will create the application, advertise the scholarships, and screen the applicants. The target will be students with high school or college education in a technical area or those with comparable technical job experience. The screening process will focus on candidates who have a strong technical background, demonstrate a desire to learn, demonstrate the motivation to succeed in a demanding but rewarding field, and have defined goals to use the learned skills to excel in the field of fiber optic technology. Scholarship recipients will be required to provide a written report within 12 months of completing the course describing how they have used the training to achieve their career goals.

Student Requirements:

  1. $760 for course fee (after scholarship)(nonrefundable)
  2. Reside or attend school in Polk or Rutherford County
  3. Must be at least a high school senior or above
  4. Must demonstrate achievement in education and/or work experience
  5. Must not be a director or employee of PANGAEA Internet
  6. Student transportation to attend training course
  7. Availability to attend each day of training
  8. Written impact report required one year after training completed

Key Dates:

June 5, 2017    Scholarship applications due (available online at www.pangaea.us)
June 9, 2017    Scholarships awarded
June 19, 2017  $760 nonrefundable prepayment due to PANGAEA from student
July 18, 2017   Training course begins
July 1, 2018     Student submits written personal impact report to PANGAEA

Questions: Carolyn Whitehead, PANGAEA Office Administrator, carolyn@e-polk.org


Scholarship Application

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