Media Contact:
Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC, FCWP
Director of Communications
O: 352-291-9559 | M: 352-816-1264
[email protected]

OCALA, Fla. (May 31, 2024) – CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion and the College of Central Florida in Chiefland have once again joined forces to provide free broadband infrastructure training to residents of Levy County and other rural counties in need of high-speed internet.

The “Creating Connections” project is designed to boost fiber-optic access for approximately 70,000 residents and businesses in Levy, Dixie, Gilchrist, Suwanee, Union, Lafayette, Hamilton, Taylor, Madison, Jefferson, and Columbia Counties located in Northwest Florida.

Training starts June 24 and is open to those who live in Levy County as well as any of the other identified counties. The one-week bootcamp takes place at CF’s Jack Wilkinson Levy Campus, 15390 U.S. Hwy 19 north of Chiefland. Additional classes are planned for August and December.

Funding for Creating Connections comes from a $1.73 million grant that is part of the federal Building Pathways to Infrastructure Jobs program. CareerSource CLM administers the program which also covers two other workforce development regions.

Michele Schulze, CareerSource CLM’s broadband grant coordinator, said that students can earn three stackable and transportable industry certifications at no charge. She noted that the certifications – fiber optic technician, fiber optics specialist in testing and maintenance, and fiber optics splicing specialist – would typically cost $2,785.

In addition to the upcoming June class, Creating Connections bootcamps have been held in April and last December. To date, 13 graduates have earned 39 certifications – the maximum possible – through the grant-funded program, Schulze said.

The program, which covers a wide variety of training options, also provides wrap-around supportive services such as travel assistance, uniforms, and required tools of the trade.

The training is conducted by BDI DataLynk, a standards-based company offering Fiber Optic Association (FOA) sanctioned fiber optics network technician training. FOA is the largest professional society of fiber optics in the world. Classes are taught by Tom Rauch, an FOA Master Instructor and certified Fiber Optics Instructor. Rauch spent 30 years with Verizon Communications, retiring as Manager of Network Operations.

Residents of Levy, Dixie, Gilchrist and other eligible counties who are interested in enrolling in the program or learning more should call 800-434-JOBS, ext. 4206 or email [email protected].


CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion is a member of CareerSource Florida and a proud partner of the American Job Center network. CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion is supported by the U.S. Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and other agencies as part of awards totaling $6.9 million (revised annually). Unless otherwise stipulated, all statements, news releases, requests for proposals, bid solicitations and other applicable documents are fully funded from federal sources.

CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion is an equal opportunity employer/program. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities and in Spanish. All voice telephone numbers listed above may be reached by persons using TTY/TDD equipment via the Florida Relay Service at 711. If you need accommodations, call 800-434-5627, ext. 7878 or e-mail [email protected]. Please make request at least three business days in advance. Stay connected with CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion on Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.

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