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Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: December 10, 2019
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Alena Yarmosky, Alena.Yarmosky@governor.virginia.gov | Virginia Economic Development Partnership: Suzanne Clark, sclark@vedp.org

Amazon Web Services, Sumitomo Electric Lightwave, and Danville Community College Collaborate on New Fusion Splicing Certificate Course

Course provides training on new hyperscale-grade fusion splicing techniques and equipment, career networking opportunities

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Danville Community College hosted a Fusion Splicing Certificate Course, a collaborative training event with Amazon Web Services and Sumitomo Electric Lightwave that earned participants an innovative fiber optic fusion splicing certificate. Approximately 30 individuals took part in the December 9–10 course, which offered training on cutting-edge technologies and equipment and covered fiber optic installation and repair. Sumitomo Electric’s world-class experts led the instruction in fiber optic technologies. The program also includes a career networking event to connect students and potential employers.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is driving fiber optic cable innovation at a rapid pace, resulting in frequent releases of new hyperscale products and solutions, which represent the next generation of fiber optic networks and require training on state-of-the-art equipment to install and operate. Identifying this need to train workers for today and the future, AWS and Sumitomo Electric Lightwave are working together to host Fusion Splicing Certificate Courses at local community colleges across the United States.

“AWS has a significant presence in Virginia, and this specialized course is a terrific way to give back to our communities, providing critical skills training in rapidly-evolving technologies,” said Governor Northam. “We are proud that AWS and Sumitomo selected Danville to offer this training event, and I want to thank the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, Southern Virginia Regional Alliance, Danville-Pittsylvania County, the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, and Danville Community College for their collaboration to ensure its success. I look forward to identifying all the ways we can work together to help meet the demand for highly-skilled workers in every region of our Commonwealth, especially in rural areas.”

“Providing access to training on cutting-edge technology is critical in our competitive global economy, and we thank AWS and Sumitomo for providing the Fusion Splicing Certificate Course to Southern Virginia’s workforce,” said Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Partnerships like these will help the Commonwealth reach its goal to have the best labor pool in the nation.”

Fusion splicing is the joining of two optical fibers to create a continuous light path, carrying data to technologies such as phones, internet, and television. Through lectures and hands-on lessons, students will become familiar with deploying a passive optical fiber network infrastructure. They will learn real-world deployment techniques with tools ranging from hand tools to state-of-the-art automated fusion splicing technology.

“It’s important to AWS to help train workers for the high-demand technical jobs of today and the future,” said Michael Punke, Vice President of Global Public Policy, AWS. “Technicians skilled in using cutting-edge machines such as the mass fusion splicer will be prepared to perform the critical jobs building the infrastructure needed to wire the country for the digital world. AWS appreciates the opportunity to work with the Commonwealth of Virginia, Danville Community College, and Sumitomo Electric Lightwave to provide this training.”   

Sumitomo Electric Lightwave (SEL) is a recognized leader in optical fiber technologies and solutions for data center, enterprise, and communication networks. Drawing from research and development from its parent company, Sumitomo Electric Industries, Sumitomo Electric Lightwave offers a variety of advanced products in ribbon technology, air-blown fiber, fusion splicing, and connectivity solutions including splice-on connectors.

“Virginia is the home of many high-density data centers,” noted Nobuyuki Suzuki, President and CEO of Sumitomo Electric Lightwave. “Together with AWS and Danville Community College, SEL is committed to ensuring Virginia has a prepared workforce capable of creating and sustaining next-generation fiber optic infrastructures.”

“This is an amazing opportunity for Danville Community College to strategically partner with global companies like AWS,” said Danville Community College President Dr. Jackie Gill-Powell. “This opportunity allows students in the City of Danville, Halifax County, and Pittsylvania County to access technologies they could not otherwise obtain in this region. This training will produce high-quality, high-skilled candidates ready for the 21st-century workforce. Anytime we can expose our students to state-of-the-art training from leading industry professionals creates a win-win-win scenario for employers, students, and the region.”

“Virginia is committed to preparing our workforce with critical 21st-century skills, and the forward-thinking collaboration of AWS and Sumitomo with economic developers, the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, and Danville Community College represents a unique model for building a talent pipeline in technologies of the future,” said Stephen Moret, President and CEO of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. “Working with our economic development and higher education partners at the state, regional, and local levels to address workforce needs and challenges is paramount to ensuring that every region of the Commonwealth grows.”

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