Danville Community College hosted 30 trainees during Amazon Web Services’ first fusion splicing training on the East Coast this week.

Of those 30 students, two are full-time DCC instructors, one is a part-time instructor, a teacher trainer from Go-TEC (Great Opportunities in Technology and Engineering Careers), an instructor from Pittsylvania Career & Technical Center and current students from DCC and county center.

According to The Fiber Optic Association, fusion splicing is the process of fusing or welding two fibers together, usually by an electric arc.

“An average office building has one pair or two strands. This cable can contain approximately 7,000 strands,” said Roger Wehner during a graduation ceremony on Tuesday.

Wehner is with Amazon Web Services’ economic development, public policy and infrastructure global expansion team.

“The fiber optic cables you were trained on over the past two days are a critical element to our data center and network infrastructure, but those same cutting edge cables are going to be more widely adopted as data center usage proliferates, along with the growth of 5G and rural broadband initiatives,” Wehner said.

“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 Gov. Ralph 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.”

During the graduation ceremony held at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, Wehner highlighted the purpose of the training along with the partners that came together to provide the opportunity to students.

“We purposefully have kept a low profile over the past two days for one key reason: This event is about the students who took advantage of this opportunity to learn a new skill or refine skills they already had on some of the newest and most innovative technology in the world,” Wehner explained.

The training was held at DCC’s Regional Center for Advanced Technology and Training in Danville’s Cyber Park.

“Data indicates that approximately 15 to 18% of the world’s data is housed in the cloud. That number is expected to increase dramatically over the coming years,” Wehner said, adding with growing customer expectations, so grows demand for more data centers, more network connectivity and more innovation. “Sumitomo Electric Lightwave wakes up every day addressing these challenges for the entire industry and are shaping the future. They have developed groundbreaking solutions delivering capacity, speed and efficiency for AWS and our peer group. That’s why they are the best choice to deliver this training.”

Also speaking at the graduation Tuesday were Virginia Economic Development Partnership Vice President of Talent Solutions Tim Stuller, Virginia Bank and Trust Company Chairman and CEO Don Merricks, DCC President Jackie Gill Powell and DCC Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs Debra Holley.

“DCC’s rightful place is at the heart of innovation in Southern Virginia, and we are excited to be the resource of choice for economic and workforce development initiatives this year,” Gill Powell said. “Expanding technological capacities at the college is one of my top priorities in the coming months and the relationships we share with key regional partners will be an invaluable asset in facilitating that growth in support of our students and our region’s workforce.”

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