Cell Tower Academy is latest offering from KVCC

At Kalamazoo Valley Community College one of their areas of expertise is preparing graduates for jobs in areas where employers have jobs to fill. Cell tower technician is one of those jobs and that training is the ninth and the latest in the school's roster of training academies.

Cell tower technicians climb the face of telecommunications and cellular towers to install, test, maintain, repair and remove a variety of radio frequency and antenna equipment. KVCC says there now is a critical shortage of cell tower technicians and demand is expected to remain high for the next six to 10 years.

“There is a great need for this type of focused, comprehensive and formal training in the cellular tower industry in addition to the individual contractors, manufacturers and industry associations who provide training today," says Mary Carter, development director and co-owner of Newkirk Electric.

The industry is looking for people who have an interest in working at heights, have the ability to travel extensively and are dedicated to a safe working environment.

To help meet that demand, KVCC is launching the Cell Tower Technician Academy, beginning March 10, 2015. The six-week class meets Monday through Friday at the Groves Campus. The $3,200 registration fee includes a tool set valued at $1,400 that graduates will take with them when they leave the program.

Experienced tower technicians earn on average about $20 to $23 per hour and entry-level technicians earn an average of $13 to $16 to start.

Industry employers who are eager to hire graduates, including representatives from Newkirk Electric, an electrical construction and engineering firm headquartered in Muskegon, gave input about the curriculum, Newkirk  also donated a cell tower that will be used for training in the Academy.

A screening process is conducted before trainees are accepted into the academy. To make sure the Academy is a good fit for applicants, they will have a chance to climb a cell tower before being admitted to the course. Applicants also will be required to pass a math assessment before acceptance into the program.

"Skilled tower technicians have excellent job security and are competitively recruited by companies who provide services to the telecom industry," says Elizabeth Lyons, director of career academies for Kalamazoo Valley Community College

Source: Dawn Kemp, Kalamazoo Valley Community College