Several industry trade organizations welcomed the introduction of the Telecommunications Skilled Workforce Act (see lede story.) Todd Schlekeway, executive director of NATE: The Communications Infrastructure Contractors Association, highlighted NATE Chairman Jimmy Miller’s recent testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee on the workforce development challenges.
“NATE believes this bipartisan legislation is a strong response to the issues that were highlighted at the hearing and can serve as a springboard to fostering greater collaboration between the federal government and state workforce boards, identifying resources available to support higher education programs, attracting transitioning military veterans and expanding TIRAP apprenticeship participation,” said Schlekeway. “All of these provisions outlined in the legislation can accomplish the ultimate goal of identifying, recruiting and training a future pipeline of skilled technicians that is necessary in order to accomplish the country’s ambitious 5G and rural broadband deployment objectives.”
Wireless Infrastructure Association President/CEO Jonathan Adelstein called the measure the right initiative at the right time. “It will coordinate and focus federal attention on wireless workforce development so that the entire economy can benefit from the three million jobs and $500 billion in growth 5G will create. We are especially thrilled with the bill’s focus on creating apprenticeships through the Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program, which Sens. Thune, Tester, Moran, Peters, and Wicker have singled out for its ability to build the skilled workforce demanded by the growing complexity of wireless technology.”
“Workforce development is a concern nationwide, and the problem is exacerbated in rural America,” said Shirley Bloomfield, CEO of NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association. “A continued focus on developing apprenticeship programs to train homegrown talent for innovative careers in rural America must be a top priority if our small towns are to attract and retain that talent and thrive in the future.”
“CTIA supports the efforts of Senators Thune, Tester, Moran, Peters, and Wicker to ensure we have the skilled workforce necessary to deploy next-generation networks, which will enable the U.S. to secure its global leadership in the emerging 5G economy,” said CTIA SVP Kelly Cole.