Congressmen Dave Loebsack, (D-IA) and Markwayne Mullin, (R-OK), reintroduced bipartisan legislation on March 21 that would create a program through the FCC to establish job training programs for communications tower service, construction and maintenance.
The “Communications Jobs Training Act of 2019” would provide up to $20 million in competitive grants for various universities, community colleges and technical education programs to develop and administer the training.
The bill was endorsed by NATE, “which 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. “We are extremely proud of our collaboration with Congressmen Loebsack and Mullin on this important legislation, which will provide key assistance in educating and training tower workers so critical to meeting our nation’s demand for greater and greater communications services. NATE commends the congressmen for their leadership and commitment.”
Loebsack said he was pleased to partner with Congressman Mullin and NATE to champion the Communications Jobs Training Act.
“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. Because of this, Iowans will see new towers popping up across the state and it will be important that we have a workforce trained to erect and maintain these towers,” he said.
The “Communications Jobs Training Act of 2019” developed bipartisan support as a result of a hearing last Congress in the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Communications and Technology Subcommittee, where the importance of having a well-trained workforce was a major theme.
Mullin noted increased demand for wireless increases the need for a skilled workforce to meet 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,” he said.