US politicians aim to boost comms training

By Jonathan Nally
Tuesday, 09 April, 2019

US politicians aim to boost comms training

US Congressmen Markwayne Mullin and Dave Loebsack have reintroduced bipartisan legislation that would create a program through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to establish or expand job training programs for communications tower service, construction and maintenance.

The Communications Jobs Training Act of 2019 would provide up to US$20 million in competitive grants for various universities, community colleges and technical education programs to develop and administer the training.

The Bill has been endorsed by the National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE).

“The need to continually expand broadband internet across our country is greater than ever,” Mullin said. “As that demand increases, we must also have a skilled workforce in place to meet those infrastructure needs. The Communications Jobs Training Act of 2019 will create grant programs for career and technical schools to train workers for the construction, service and maintenance of communications towers.”

“As our nation begins to transition to what is known in the wireless industry as 5G, which will bring consumers even faster mobile internet services, we will need to build and retrofit communication towers to be able to handle the new technology,” Loebsack added.

“The National Association of Tower Erectors continues to strongly support the Communications Jobs Training Act, and eagerly looks forward to its enactment in the 116th Congress,” said NATE Chairman Jimmy Miller.

FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr has applauded the move.

“To ensure that America wins the race to 5G, we need to double the number of tower crews that are building this next-generation infrastructure. There is demand for up to 20,000 more tower workers. These are good-paying, 5G jobs,” Carr said in a statement.

“By creating a pipeline of talented tower crews, we can help extend America’s global leadership in wireless.”

The Communications Jobs Training Act of 2019 came as a result of a hearing in the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Communications and Technology Subcommittee, where the importance of having a well-trained workforce was a major theme.

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