Various facets of the telecom industry spoke out in favor of Tuesday’s reintroduction of the Telecommunications Skilled Workforce Act, legislation to address the shortage of trained workers necessary to fill 5G jobs.
FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr leads a 5G jobs initiative aimed at standing up tower tech training programs through community colleges and trade schools. Those programs have now been launched in South Carolina, South Dakota, North Carolina, and Oklahoma. More trade school programs are in the works, according to the agency.
Of the measure, he said: “Internet providers are adding new cell sites at an unprecedented pace. To complete America’s 5G build, we need nearly to double the number of skilled tower techs and telecom crews working in this country. Doing so would not only advance U.S. leadership in 5G and create thousands of new, good-paying jobs.”
CTIA SVP Government Affairs Kelly Cole commended the work of the Senators to “grow and enable the skilled workforce needed to deploy next-generation networks, which will help the U.S. realize the promise of the 5G Economy.”
Wireless Internet Service Providers Association VP Government Affairs Christina Mason said: “We cannot bridge the digital divide, nor work to advance our safety, well being and prosperity through broadband, without the skilled workforce needed to erect that broadband infrastructure and build those networks. But, there’s a shortage of skilled workers, which is thwarting these national goals.”
The bi-partisan S. 3355, “will work to shore up that labor pipeline,” Mason explained. “We are especially heartened by these efforts because they will help develop more skilled workers for the American heartland, bringing rural areas and the communications networks there on par with their urban counterparts.”