(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted, who serves as Director of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation (OWT), today announced that the Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA) will serve as the industry intermediary for Ohio’s Broadband and 5G Sector Partnership. The Ohio State University was awarded $3 million in January to host the Sector Partnership and identify a telecommunications industry partner to lead the effort. This announcement is part of a larger effort by OWT and BroadbandOhio to grow the workforce needed to expand broadband access and 5G in Ohio.
The “Strengthening Ohio’s Broadband & 5G Workforce” Strategy, released in September 2021, calls for a Broadband and 5G Sector Partnership that will lead the implementation of the goals outlined in the strategy. As the industry intermediary, WIA will provide insight into the telecommunications skills gap and industry needs. The Sector Partnership will work to design and distribute curriculum and training programs across the state and promote career awareness to supply the industry with a skilled workforce.
“The Wireless Infrastructure Association has been a strong partner in our efforts to ensure Ohio has a skilled workforce for deploying critical telecommunications infrastructure,” said Lt. Governor Husted. “Industry input is essential to the Broadband and 5G Sector Partnership as they work to prepare Ohioans for these in-demand jobs.”
“We are excited to take part in this cutting-edge partnership with Ohio State University to help strengthen Ohio’s broadband and 5G workforce,” said WIA EVP Tim House. “WIA’s Telecommunications Education Center is the premier program developing and delivering curriculum and training to prepare the workforce to meet the demand of 5G. I’d like to thank Ohio State University for the opportunity to support them with our expertise in this critical initiative. I’d also like to thank Lt. Governor Husted for his leadership in building the workforce of the future in Ohio. The investments being made through the Office of Workforce Transformation to build a workforce capable of deploying broadband and next-generation network technology is a model for the nation—and I look forward to seeing it replicated in other states.”
“The 5G Sector Partnership is the first step in achieving the goals set by Lt. Governor Husted in the Strengthening Ohio’s Broadband and 5G Workforce strategic plan,” said WIA CTO Dr. Rikin Thakker. “I would like to thank Ohio State University and Lt. Governor Husted for the opportunity to partner with them in this important endeavor. WIA is uniquely suited to provide guidance and insights from an industry perspective to develop curriculum and deliver programs that will address workforce shortages and improve skills gaps in Ohio’s broadband workforce. Building a workforce capable of deploying broadband and 5G technology is crucial for Ohio’s economy, and this initiative will help do this by preparing Ohioans for good-paying jobs in telecommunications.”
“We look forward to partnering with WIA and developing a robust and inclusive Sector Partnership that advances Ohio’s workforce in this space both broadly and innovatively,” said Anish Arora, Chair and Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at The Ohio State University. “Our joint steps over the next couple of years will set the stage for sustained workforce development initiatives. These will range from implementing awareness programs to developing an immediately employable workforce as well as training the next generation of technical leaders and executives.”
Since the strategy launched in September, Ohio has announced six new programs across the state. These programs are located at career centers, colleges, and universities, and will prepare participants for a variety of jobs in the telecommunications industry. The Sector Partnership will lead the development and distribution of additional education and training programs around the state.
Today’s announcement represents more progress related to broadband expansion that builds upon efforts by Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Husted to expand and enhance high-speed internet access for businesses and families throughout Ohio.
The “Strengthening Ohio’s Broadband & 5G Workforce” Strategy can be found on the BroadbandOhio website.