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Instructors are pleased with OUSC’s Telephony.Ed program

Students are climbing all over the classroom equipment – and the instructors couldn’t be more pleased.

Thursday, May 31, 2001

Students are climbing all over the classroom equipment – and the instructors couldn’t be more pleased.

Students in the inaugural class at the new Telephony.Ed program, which is located in Ironton, have started their third week and have begun working on some of the hands-on training offered in the curriculum.

The program is a cooperative agreement by Ohio University Southern Campus and Collins Career Center and will prepare the students to enter the central office installation field as an introductory level technician.

On Tuesday, students practiced some of the skills they will use throughout their career. Students learned how to lace cables with instructors, watching and teaching the students as they attempted to perform the skill.

Program instructors said the students will learn the "real world" techniques used in telephony "from start to finish." Instructors said the training will lay the groundwork so the students can increase their knowledge base once they enter the field.

"When they leave," said one instructor, "they (the students) won’t face any big surprises."

One student, Robin Stegall from Sandy Hook, Ky., has been in the field for two years, but decided to go back to a training program along with her husband, James.

Robin said she has benefited from the training program. She said she decided to enroll in the program so she could add to the knowledge she gained from working in the field. She said since she’s been enrolled, she has learned three new techniques that two years in the field never taught her.

She said the instructors are instrumental in teaching the students the required skills. Robin said the instructors are able to take the lessons and effectively explain it to the students.

"The key is the instructors," Robin said, "they know their stuff and they bring the lessons to our level so we can understand what they are teaching."

The program prepares students to enter the field of central office installation with various certification programs from industry leaders. Students are exposed to "up-to-date equipment" used by technicians in the field. The program is being touted as one of the "most comprehensive" programs offered in the nation.

Robin said she also came to the program so she and James can work in the field together as a husband-wife team. Although all of the students share one common goal – get a good paying job, wages in the field range in the $20 an hour and higher – class members come to the program with various backgrounds.

Program student Norma Brown-Hunt said her enrollment in the class stems from her love of the electronic industry. Already possessing an associates degree in television technology and experience in the broadcast field, Brown-Hunt said she is interested in the field because of the opportunity for travel – a common denominator among most installation companies. "What better way is there to travel…than to get paid for it," Hunt said.

Fellow student David Miller echoed Hunt’s sentiments and added the program will allow him the opportunity for advancement in the technology field.

The program is hoped to allow students access to the booming technology field. In a letter sent by Gov. Bob Taft during the facility’s opening ceremony, the governor outlined the program’s goal. Taft wrote, ""The Fiber Optic Training Center is an excellent example of how the Higher Skills program will directly benefit local communities. The partnership between Collins Career Center and Ohio University-Ironton has resulted in a facility specially designed to provide workers with the skilled training necessary to compete in today’s competitive business climate."