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Jones Quick-Starts Training Program

Technical trainer Jones/NCTI has developed an installer-education program designed to assure cable operators that their contract laborers get the job right the first time.

The Quick Start Installer program, designed for veteran video installers with input from Comcast and Charter Communications, can be completed in 30 hours of online instruction. Workers can also be trained in high-speed data installation standards in a 10-hour course and in voice-over-Internet protocol installation techniques in 16 hours.

Cable operators want standardized training for the workers they use, said Jones/NCTI vice president of business development Neil Sullivan. But they also want to steer clear of a situation in which the cable operator is defined as a “co-employer” of the contract workers under state or federal laws. Such a status might require the cable companies to provide such workers with benefits.

By working with large contracting firms to get their workers to complete a Jones-administered installer-training course, MSOs can be assured that their contract staff will meet a standard level of skill.

Because it costs less than in-house training, Sullivan said, the program also benefits contractors. An in-house program could cost a contractor as much as $4,500 per technician. Jones charges $750 for all three courses, which can be completed in less than three weeks. Technicians can train on a PC in the morning and handle MSO installations, with supervision, in the afternoon.

During the development phase, said Sullivan, it became apparent that the training program would also save contractors on “chargebacks” — deductions made to MSO payments when a contract technician performs substandard work that results in a second truck roll or customer complaint.

Wide use of such a tranining program could also prevent contractors from hiring workers who've been fired by another shop for substandard work, he added.

After a technician completes the online training, the worker is directed to a proctor-supervised test site for which Jones has contracted. There are 1,400 such sites around the U.S., so a worker shouldn't have to drive more than 30 miles to take the final proficiency test, according to Jones executives.

The installer-training program is just the latest program from Jones, said senior vice president Robyn McVicker. The online university in March will launch a program to train installers of cable commercial products for small and midsized businesses.

Service reliability is key to growth of this new product, according to McVicker, so the program will ensure that small-business installations are conducted uniformly and correctly.