WIA Receives $6M Federal Grant for 5G Apprenticeship Program
Wednesday, February 19, 2020 | Comments

The Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA) received a $6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to expand apprenticeships in the telecommunications industry. In partnership with the Power & Communication Contractors Association (PCCA), the grant will be used to train a 5G workforce.

The grant is one of 28 public-private apprenticeship partnerships totaling nearly $100 million through the DOL’s Apprenticeship: Closing the Skills Gap grant program. These grants will support large-scale expansions of apprenticeship in industries including manufacturing, healthcare and information technology.

Five technical partner schools will contribute to the WIA project. The nearly $6 million grant is supplemented by more than $9 million in matching support from industry, including cash and in-kind contributions from WIA, PCCA, Ditch Witch, FS3 and participating employers, for a total commitment to apprenticeship of $15 million in a public-private partnership.

The grant will provide the necessary funding to design curricula and deliver training to develop qualified applicants for placement in middle- to high-skilled jobs nationwide that will accelerate 5G deployment for America’s 5G Apprenticeship Initiative. The program will be led by WIA and delivered through the Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship (TIRAP) program, of which WIA is the national sponsor. TIRAP is a public-private partnership with DOL and a multiemployer apprenticeship effort focused on developing the 5G workforce.

"These grants will further the administration's efforts to expand apprenticeships,” said DOL Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia. “For Americans who want an alternative to the traditional bachelor's degree, apprenticeships are a way to learn valuable skills that lead to good paying careers. Companies across the country tell me that their greatest challenge today is finding the skilled workers they need. This funding will bolster America's competitiveness by adding more skilled workers to fill millions of open jobs today and in the future."

America’s 5G Apprenticeship Initiative will engage a consortium of public and private partners with 33 small and mid-sized employers committing to create more than 5,500 new apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships in this rapidly evolving sector. These industry-driven, competency-based apprenticeships will target veterans; transitioning service members; military spouses; women; people of color; unemployed, underemployed and incumbent workers; and other underrepresented populations.

Five committed technical partner schools are State Technical College of Missouri, Terra State Community College in Ohio, Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, Monroe County Community College in Michigan and Somerset Community College in Kentucky.

“WIA is thrilled to win this grant to provide a foundation for 5G skills training through apprenticeship,” said WIA President and CEO Jonathan Adelstein. “It will help equip America’s future workforce with the skills needed to build next-generation wireless networks to lead the global race to 5G. Apprenticeship allows Americans to earn while they learn, and once they complete training, they will have access to good-paying jobs with a defined career path. We can’t let the road to 5G be blocked by the lack of a trained workforce.”

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