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New Collaborations with Corning and Northwood Technical College Will Help Connect the Unconnected and Deliver Workforce Training Opportunities

Feb. 20, 2023

NTCA Members Will Have Access to Exclusive Cable and Connectivity Supply and New Talent as They Accelerate Rural Deployments

NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association today announced it has entered two new strategic collaborations to help community-based broadband providers overcome supply chain and workforce challenges and prepare for growth driven by funding for network deployment in the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act.

Through these new initiatives, Northwood Technical College and Corning Optical Communications, a division of Corning Incorporated, will aim to help NTCA members secure the talent and equipment they need to accelerate broadband deployments as they work to connect more rural Americans to sustainable, future-proof technologies.

“Following many months of discussion and information gathering, we are proud that Corning will offer industry-leading cable and connectivity solutions and Northwood Tech will offer workforce training opportunities exclusively for NTCA members,” said NTCA Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield during the 2023 Rural Telecom Industry Meeting & Expo (RTIME), the annual gathering of more than 2,000 leaders and suppliers of rural, community-based broadband providers. “We are pulling out all the stops to help our members deploy and sustain connections to more rural Americans, and we hope these new initiatives from Corning and Northwood Tech will help NTCA members make the most of this unique broadband moment for our country.”

“At Corning, we’re building on our commitment to helping rural operators bridge the digital divide with cost-effective optical solutions that simplify their deployments,” said Keith Martin, Vice President, Emerging Carrier Markets, Corning Optical Communications. “Through this collaboration with NTCA, we’ll be supplying rural operators with future-ready cable and connectivity innovations that are vital to connecting the unconnected. We are excited to work together toward making Internet for All a reality.”

“Northwood Tech has several decades of innovative telecommunications and broadband training and experience,” explained Northwood Tech President John Will. “This partnership with NTCA allows us to reach and train more students and upskill employees who will gain industry-recognized digital badging credentials in two key areas for installation and customer service, so we can grow our broadband workforce and better connect our rural communities to help them thrive.”

About the NTCA-Corning Rural Broadband Supply Program

Corning Optical Communications is making available an exclusive supply of cable and connectivity solutions specially reserved for NTCA members’ network buildouts. A total of 46.3 million feet in fiber cable purchases will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis to members who participate in a pre-enrollment survey in February and March and place final purchase orders through Corning’s selected distributors in April. Purchase orders submitted through eligible distributors will have allocated supply for delivery in 2024.

A full list of eligible Corning products is available in this overview. For purposes of clarification, NTCA has no contractual relationship with Corning or any of the distributors and is not a party to or beneficiary of any of the agreements among Corning, distributors, or any NTCA members placing orders through this program.

About the NTCA-Northwood Technical College Digital Badging

Northwood Technical College (based in northwest Wisconsin) has committed to provide online training that meets the needs of rural Americans. Northwood Tech’s Broadband Academy provides online courses that can be paired with apprentice-type training at NTCA member companies. Participants will enjoy access to Broadband Academy training for Broadband Customer Service Specialist and Broadband Installer credentials.

The NTCA-Northwood Digital Badging program provides incentives for employees to earn recognized industry credentials and offers NTCA members defined categories of skilled workers whose proficiencies can be matched to common sets of standards. This collaboration was initiated in response to the Biden administration’s Talent Pipeline Challenge, a call to action for employers, education and training providers and others to support equitable workforce development in critical infrastructure sectors like broadband. For more information, watch the video shown at RTIME or visit


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ISE Staff