In today’s highly competitive voice/data/video (VDV) industry, the proper training is essential to the success of any electrical contractor. This month’s column will present an overview of the training opportunities from Ortronics and Hubbell Premise Wiring.

Ortronics, New London, Conn., provides fiber optic and high performance, flexible structured cabling systems and offers four basic training programs for its range of telecommunications products. “New technologies that are driving the industry, such as Gigabit Ethernet, require constant continuing education,” observes William Phelps, director of training and standards.

The “Certified Installer Plus Program” is a three-day course that provides an overview of TIA standards. The course’s hands-on sessions involve testing and certification issues. “Our goal is to provide information on industry standards and our company warranties which can be passed on to the customer,” Phelps said. Classes are held a minimum of 12 times a year in regional locations across the country, typically in major convention or hotel facilities. The sessions are designed for the installation contractor and top-level design engineers.

For eight hours of intensive training, students may attend Ortronic’s “Technician Installation Course.” Training includes a standards overview and information about product installation practices, testing, and certification. Here the goal is to provide electricians and technicians with the proper methods of product installation. Classes are held on the property of the company requesting the training, and a minimum of 10 people must attend. In 1999, the Installation Course was presented 124 times.

The “Fiber Optic Training Course” lasts three full days, with about one-third of the time devoted to hands-on demonstrations in the installation, design, and termination practices for optical fiber. “This course is not based on any one manufacturer’s connectors, but is generic in nature,” Phelps said. The course is limited to the Ortronics corporate office and is held four times a year. In the second half of 2000, the company plans to present four courses on a regional basis.

The “Distributors’ Course” is offered to Ortronics’ distribution partners and provides product information and knowledge, plus some hands-on training in testing and certification. “This eight-hour course is aimed at giving distributors a general knowledge of modern electronic products and their varied applications.” Classes are held on an as needed basis, subject to the number of distributors expressing interest. In 1999, Ortronics visited the sites of 28 distributors to present this course.

Except for the “Distributor’s Course,” Ortronics’ training opportunities are aimed at the high-end telecom contractor with large projects. “Training is essential because our products are a flexible solution providing high performance that meets or exceeds current and future telecom standards,” Phelps said. Benefits of attending Ortronics training include the ability to offer customers long-term product and application assurance warranties. “Our goal is to provide a full system warranty,” said Phelps. Such training also provides students with the ability to provide high-end voice/data/video services to a wider range of customers.

Completion Certifications are distributed to students based on a pass/fail written exam at the end of each course.

Hubbell Premise Wiring, Stonington, Conn., is a full-line supplier of connecting hardware for structured cabling systems. To effectively train electricians and technicians in this technology, Hubbell offers a “Mission Critical Warranty and System Performance Guarantee Program.” Through this program, the company offers Mission Critical training, covering all aspects of the design, installation, and testing and maintenance of integrated precision balanced systems. “Our extended product warranty and application assurance certifies that our structured cabling systems will be free from defects in material and workmanship for up to 25 years and will support any current and future applications,” said Mike O’Connor, technical marketing services manager. A hands-on fiber optic option can be added to enhance the overall program.

Hubbell’s Mission Critical training provides a standards overview, including design criteria, topologies, distance limitations, installation practices, and system testing. Classes are held in various regions around the country, and internationally, at the request of company sales engineers. The first day of the two-day class covers systems design, practical issues, Hubbell installation requirements, and a case study. The second day includes installation practices, a hands-on session, system administration, and an exam. “Today’s telecommunications industry is continually changing, making it imperative that we provide the most current, complete, and accurate training available.”

The Mission Critical Training Program is primarily focused on contractors, project engineers and technicians, local architects, engineers, and specifiers. “The goal is to provide these professionals with training that ensures familiarity with critical practices and procedures, and to ensure a clear understanding of Hubbell requirements,” said O’Connor. Students who receive this training are given BICSI continuing education credits. Registered Communications Distribution Designers (RCDD) receive six hours toward re-certification, while Telecommunications Cabling Installers receive eight hours toward their re-certification.

BREMER, a freelance writer based in Solomons, Md., can be reached at (410) 394-6966 or by e-mail at dbremer@erols.com.