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June 30, 2015

ACTC Offers New Fiber Optic Training

Ashland Community and Technical College is now a Fiber Optic Association (FAO) approved school and is offering three certification classes this summer to help people prepare for jobs in fiber optics testing, maintenance and repair

 “The state of Kentucky will be installing what they call a dark fiber backbone network of high speed internet connections throughout the state beginning this fall,” said Karen Coburn, ACTC Director of Workforce Solutions.  “These certifications are part of the requirement for employment.”

Each of the three training courses is recognized by Building Industry Consulting Service International (BICSI) for Continuing Education Credit in Information Technology Systems.

BICSI is a professional association that provides education and assessment for individuals and companies in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry. ICT includes the optical fiber-based distribution systems that are the subject of ACTC classes.

Each of the three certification courses will be offered twice this summer at the Roberts Drive Campus, located at 4700 Roberts Drive in Ashland. Each course will include background information on theory and processes, and 85% of the class time will be spent on hands-on training activities.

The Certified Fiber Optics Technician Course (CFOT) is the beginning point for those without previous training or experience. With successful completion of this course, students may take the specialized Testing and Maintenance (CFPS/T) or Splicing (CFOS/S) courses.  Students can take all three courses in one week and are encouraged to register for all courses they want to attend, with the understanding that the each course must successfully completed in order to take the next one.

For more information or to register, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 606-326-2130. To register online, go to ashland.kctcs.edu/Workforce_Solutions

Technician Course

This three-day Certified Fiber Optics Technician Course (CFOT) is designed for anyone interested in becoming a Certified Fiber Optic Technician.  The course teaches students to effectively and efficiently install, terminate, and test multimode fiber optic networks to existing standards.

Students will learn how to identify fiber types, recognize various connectors used in fiber installation; and install, terminate, splice, and properly test installed fiber cables to existing standards.

Other topics include an introduction to industry standards governing FTTD (Fiber To The Desk), FTTH (Fiber To The Home), and Distribution Cabling.  Students will also explore the history and future of fiber optics and learn about basic testing and troubleshooting.  

Students are prepared for the CFOT certification test sanctioned by the Fiber Optics Association.  The test will be given and graded on the last day of class, and students must pass both the written and hands-on exams to earn certification.

The class will meet Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, July 13 to 15 or July 20 to 22, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  The $700 fee includes study materials, exam fees, textbook, CD and a one-year membership in the FOA. The FOA memberships include access to job listing website.

The BICSI recognizes Certified Fiber Optic Technician training for 24 Continuing Education Credits (CECs).

Specialist in Testing & Maintenance Course

The Certified Fiber Optics Specialist in Testing & Maintenance Course (CFOS/T) offers advanced training to those involved with the testing and maintenance of fiber optics networks. Students must have successfully passed the basic CFOT course, or be CFOT certified, to take this course.

This two-day comprehensive course covers the variety of testing standards, equipment and technological approaches in fiber network testing and splicing and how to choose among them. Students will explore the overall spectrum of testing and maintenance of single mode fiber optics networks and learn about the various pieces of equipment used in testing and maintenance.

Topics includes a detailed study of ANSI/TIA/EIA-526-(7)A, OTDR fundamentals and uses, OTDR vs. Insertion Loss Testing, Return Loss Testing, and Attenuation Testing using the power source and light meter.

Students will be prepared to effectively and efficiently identify fiber network defects and provide Quality Assurance procedures to minimize or eliminate future network outages. The Specialist in Testing & Maintenance Fiber Optics Certification Exam sanctioned by the FOA will be given and graded on the last day of class. 

The class will meet Thursday and Friday, July 16 and 17 or July 23 and 24, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  The $675 fee includes materials. The BICSI recognizes Certified Fiber Optic Technician training for 16 CECs.

Splicing Specialist Course

This Certified Fiber Optics Specialist/Splicing Course (CFOS/S) includes a presentation on the importance of high performance splicing and the skills necessary to achieve these splices. Students must have successfully passed the basic CFOT and CFOS-T courses, or be certified in those area, to take this course.

Particular attention will be given to optical time-domain reflectometer (OTDR) functions in measuring and testing optical fibers.  Students will receive training in both fusion and mechanical splicing of either single or multimode fiber optic cables.  Class exercises will include making and testing both mechanical and fusion splices and then correctly and efficiently install spliced fibers into splice trays and enclosures.

Students will be required to achieve a splice loss of less than 0.15 dB for all splices and demonstrate proficiency in interpretation of splice loss using OTDR splice traces.  The CFOS/S (Certified Fiber Optics Specialist/Splicing exam sanctioned by the FOA will be given and graded on the final day of class.

The class will meet Saturday and Sunday, July 18 and 19 or July 25 and 26, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  The $675 fee includes materials. The BICSI recognizes Certified Fiber Optic Technician training for 16 CECs.

Fiber Optic Job Outlook

Optical fibers are replacing metal wires to transmit information because they can send more data further with less interference.  Maintaining the increasing number fiber optic systems being installed in the country requires technicians with special skills.

According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of telecommunications equipment installers is expected to grow 15% from 2010 to 2020.  In Kentucky, the demand for fiber optic technician training will be met by ACTC and KCTCS colleges in Somerset and Prestonsburg.

Fiber optic technicians can work for telecommunications companies, utility companies, building contractors, retail electronic stores, cable television and other telecommunication service providers.  The average wage for Telecommunications Line Installers and Repairers in Kentucky was $22.28/hour in 2013, according to the KY Occupational Outlook to 2022.

Excel & Skype Classes

Two hands-on software classes on July 7 can help participants become more productive in using their business or home computers. The classes will be held at the ACTC Roberts Drive Campus. To register or receive more information, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 606-326-2130.

Microsoft Excel 2010 is a vital tool in working with numbers or data. A Beginning Excel class from 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. will cover Excel basics step-by-step. The class includes shortcuts for setting up formatted worksheets and the secrets of writing mathematical formulas.  The fee is $79.

Skype for Business is a cost effective way to connect with family or business contacts.  This workshop from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. covers the fundamentals of Skype for Business (formerly Lync) and its many features.  Participants will learn how to instant message, video conference with groups, and share files while using safety precautions to avoid unwanted Skype communications.  The fee is $39.  

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July 1, 2015

Morehead State University’s Lunar IceCube mission is the cover story for NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center's Cutting Edge magazine

MOREHEAD -- It was announced in April that NASA has selected MSU as one of the 12 Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) to advance concept studies and technology development projects in the areas of advanced propulsion, habitation and small satellites. The NASA contract is one of the biggest in MSU history at $7.9 million.

Dr. Ben Malphrus, MSU’s Department of Earth and Space Sciences chair and Space Science Center director, is the principal investigator.

MSU’s computer-aided design (CAD) drawings and Telescope Operations Engineer Michael Comb's illustration are on the cover.

Dr. Pamela Clark (NASA GSFC and CUA) is serving as the science principal investigator. 

The Lunar IceCube mission team includes space systems engineers from Morehead State University, including Jeff Kruth, Kevin Z. Brown, Bob Twiggs, Michael Combs and Eric Thomas, and propulsion engineers from Busek including Kurt Hohman and Mike Tsay. The Science Team includes Dr. Roger McNeil and Dr. Eric Jerde of MSU and Robert MacDowall, Noah Petro, Dennis Reuter, Cliff Brambora, Deepak Patel, Stuart Banks and Avi Mandell from the NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center. The navigation team is led by Dr. Dave Folta (NASA GSFC), who has calculated a trajectory to the moon that utilizes an innovative low energy manifold trajectory.

To view the article visit http://gsfctechnology.gsfc.nasa.gov/newsletter/Current.pdf

Additional information about Lunar IceCube is available by contacting Dr. Malphrus at 606-783-2381 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

July 1, 2015

NUMBER OF GED DIPLOMAS IN KENTUCKY DECREASE WHILE GED TEST DIFFICULTY INCREASE

 

The General Educational Development test, or GED, was founded as a non-profit test that sought to give people who were not able to get a high school degree an equivalent of that degree. For decades, people have been able to forever change their life by obtaining their high school degree equivalent.

Controversial changes

The enterprising spirit behind those wanting to get their GEDs may now be put to the test. 

In 2014, the GED went from being a non-profit organization to being purchased by Pearson Education, a for-profit group. The test faced many changes in an effort to better align with the heavily debated Core Content curriculum currently taught in the nation’s schools.

The new test focuses more heavily on math and science. Test takers should know how to balance chemical equations, and they have to have a proficient reading comprehension among other things. 

Also adding to the difficulty of the new test is the way in which the tests are taken ― completely on a computer. Every section of the new test is computerized, even the essay. Whereas the timed essay portion was written out on paper, the new GED test has a timed essay that must be typed out on a computer. This provides another layer of difficulty to students who lack basic typing and computer skills. 

Kentucky’s scores down 

The difficulty of this new test is evidenced by the number of people who are taking and passing the test. During the 2013 fiscal year, 8,890 students in Kentucky earned GED diplomas, according to the annual GED statistical report, which can be found online at www.gedtestinservice.com. The current fiscal year ends this month, and as of June 8, the state had issued only 1,351 diplomas, which makes Kentucky down by about 85 percent.

Ten states have already opted out of the GED test in favor of other tests like the HiSET, which is the high school equivalency exam offered by ETS, and the TASC, or Test Assessing Secondary Completion, which is the high school equivalency exam from CTB/McGraw-Hill. 

Kentucky has one of the highest pass rates of the GED in the nation, improving from a 78 percent in 2013 to an 84 percent in 2014, but that number may be misleading. Anyone who wants to get their GED in the state of Kentucky must first pass a practice test before moving on to the actual GED tests. The passing rate for the state’s GED test is only affected by those people who are able to move on and take the actual test, while people who are unable to pass do not affect it at all.

 

Lazer Note: Lawrence County Adult and Community Education Director James Ellis could not comment on this topic due to Kentucky Adult Education protocols