The Senate Commerce Committee yesterday voted on and passed to the full Senate the Telecommunications Opportunities for Workers Engaging in Real Infrastructure Deployment Act (S-2363) or the ‘TOWER Infrastructure Deployment Act’ sponsored by Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO), and Kyrsten Sinema, (D-AZ).
The measure would establish a Telecommunications Workforce Development Advisory Council to the FCC. The advisory council would develop and make recommendations to the FCC with respect to:
- The needs of the workforce in the communications industry to promote the deployment of communications facility installations;
- Ways to encourage participation in industry-led workforce development programs; and
- Ways to improve workforce development in the communications industry.
If the measure passes, the Advisory Council would be composed of members appointed that shall include at least one member representing, respectively — the Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, a state agency, a local agency, a Tribal agency, the communications industry and a minority institution. The FCC Chairman would appoint members to serve on the council not more than 90 days after enactment.
The National Association of Tower Erectors commended the committee action. In a statement to Inside Towers, NATE Director of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Jim Goldwater said, “Workforce Development is a top priority for NATE and with every step this legislation takes through the process, the more visibility our industry’s unique workforce needs and challenges will receive from lawmakers. The association is hopeful that members of Congress will continue to prioritize and package together industry workforce development legislation, including NATE’s top priority, the Communications Jobs Training Act of 2019, in order to help develop a new pipeline of skilled technician workers that are essential in maintaining the country’s position as the global leader in 5G.”
December 12, 2019
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