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House Version of Telecom Work Force Bill Introduced

Capitol Building

The bill, which is meant to address the shortage of workers to fill the 5G deployment jobs of the future, was first introduced in the last Congress a year ago this month.

A senate version was introduced last week.

Co-sponsoring the House bill were Reps. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) and Yvette D. Clarke (D-N.Y.).

The bill would boost next-gen broadband buildout jobs by:

1. "Establishing an FCC-led interagency working group that, in consultation with the Department of Labor (DOL) and other federal and non-federal stakeholders, would be tasked with developing recommendations to address the workforce needs of the telecommunications industry.

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2. "Requiring the FCC, in consultation with DOL, to issue guidance on how states can address the workforce shortage in the telecommunications industry by identifying all of the federal resources currently available to them that can be used for workforce development efforts.

 3. "Directing the Government Accountability Office to conduct a study to determine the specific number of skilled telecommunications workers that will be required to build and maintain broadband infrastructure in rural areas and the 5G wireless infrastructure needed to support 5G wireless technology."

Also Read: CWA Says There Is No Workforce Shortage

“NATE believes that the provisions outlined in the bipartisan Telecommunications Skilled Workforce Act can serve as a springboard to fostering greater collaboration between the federal government, state workforce boards, higher education and private sector companies to accomplish the ultimate goal of developing a future pipeline of skilled technicians that the country sorely needs to meet its ambitious broadband and 5G deployment objectives,” said Todd Schlekeway, president of The Communications Infrastructure Contractors Association (NATE).

"According to a recent study by Boston Consulting Group, the 5G Economy is poised to contribute $1.5 trillion and 4.5 million jobs to the U.S. economy in the next decade, and this legislation will help ensure that every community across the country has the workforce they need to deploy and benefit from next-generation networks," said CTIA SVP, government affairs Kelly Cole.

“CTIA thanks Representatives Walberg and Clarke for introducing the Telecommunications Skilled Workforce Act." 

The FCC under former chairman Ajit Pai, and over the objections of various local government officials, took various steps to pave the way for swifter and easier deployment of broadband buildouts with the avowed goal of closing the rural digital divide and winning the race to 5G service that will make wireless broadband a stronger competitor to wired.