June 15, 2017 —
Along with all the good news about network densification, FirstNet, Smart Cities and 5G comes fears that the wireless infrastructure industry won’t have enough properly trained crews to safely and effectively build out these networks.
To fill these needs, the Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA) has launched the Telecommunications Education Center (TEC) (www.tec-online.org), which features training through multiple venues, including traditional classroom instruction, in-the-field training and online.
Announcing the program at Wireless Infrastructure Show in Orlando last month, WIA CEO Jonathan Adelstein said that TEC is the first initiative to target wireless infrastructure programming.
“TEC will provide a host of professional development and training programs designed to empower individuals and strengthen companies within our industry,” he said. “I don’t have to tell you that your most valuable assets are your employees. You need to keep them trained — and also provide them with the professional development opportunities they need to grow their careers.”
TEC aims to improve safety and quality, reduce costs of wireless infrastructure deployment and address existing skills gaps to meet the needs of companies deploying next-generation network technologies, according to Tim House, WIA executive vice president.
WIA worked with universities, its members, subject matter experts, and education consultants to develop the courses. Subjects introduced in the initial phase of 14 TEC courses will cover both wireless fundamentals and advanced topics including: wireless theory; macrocellular Infrastructure; an small cells and DAS classes; WiFi; and 5G. Additionally, several courses will cover tower safety. TEC courses also can be customized to meet organization-specific professional development and training needs.
“We are collaborating with the best and brightest to create a dynamic educational and training curriculum that will have a direct and lasting impact for years to come,” House said.
For example, the session titled “Wireless 101” was designed to familiarize participants with practical aspects of wireless systems and their industrial applications. “DAS and Small Cell Basics” covers the fundamentals and applications of each tool. “Wi-Fi Fundamentals” teaches basic 802.11 wireless networking terminology and functionality as well as engineering concepts, troubleshooting and business practices.
Progress in the development of in fifth generation wireless will be covered in “5G Outlook” as well as the market forces driving the new standard. “Macro Site Fundamentals” will introduce theories relating to design, planning and maintenance of cell towers.
“We have big plans for TEC, so look for more announcements in coming months as we launch additional programs and courses to meet the industry’s specific needs,” Adelstein said.
WIA partnered with Virginia State University to pilot the TEC program and will also work closely with the Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program (TIRAP), the U.S. Department of Labor, and the FCC to provide applicable contact hours earned with course and training completion.
TIRAP Gains Traction in Promoting Telecom Apprenticeships
TIRAP and WIA announced on June 15 that 11 companies have signed agreements to be Participating Employers in its telecom apprenticeship program. This pledge from private businesses will accelerate the fulfillment of TIRAP’s goal to address the skills gap in the telecommunications industry by adopting an apprenticeship model, which is new to the industry.
WIA was named the National Sponsor for TIRAP in March 2017 now coordinates a host of activities for Participating Employers to ensure that apprenticeship programs are developed, monitored and measured effectively. This supports the Trump Administration’s announced intention to shift certification of federally funded apprenticeship programs from the Department of Labor to industry participants, including trade associations.
“All of these workforce development programs will support apprenticeships, which are perfectly suited for the wireless industry,” Adelstein said. “Apprenticeships will promote safety, enhance quality and open advancement opportunities for our workers. Best of all, WIA can help you identify resources that will can pay for your training efforts.”
The newly-expanded list of companies participating in TIRAP now includes: