Bipartisan legislation creates grant program to train workers to service, construct, and maintain communications towers
WASHINGTON—Congressmen Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) and Dave Loebsack (IA-02) today introduced bipartisan legislation that would create a program through the Federal Communications Commission to establish, or expand, job training programs for communications tower service, construction and maintenance. The Communications Jobs Training Act of 2018 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 has been endorsed by the National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE).
“The demand for broadband internet across the country has skyrocketed in recent years,” said Representative Mullin. “It is important that we have the skilled workforce in place to meet that increasing need. The Communications Jobs Training Act of 2018 will create grant programs for career and technical schools to train workers for the construction, service, and maintenance of communication towers. I’m proud to introduce a bipartisan solution to fill existing gaps in the workforce and help broadband internet reach more Americans in even our most rural communities.”
“In the coming years, Iowans will see new towers popping up across the state as the communications industry prepares for a wave of new demand for towers,” said Representative Loebsack. “It is vitally important that we have a workforce able to service and maintain those that are already erected, as well as build the new towers as they come online. I am pleased to work with Congressman Mullin and NATE to introduce this important piece of legislation.”
“NATE enthusiastically supports the Communications Jobs Training Act of 2018 and commends Congressmen Loebsack and Mullin for their initiative in introducing this legislation,” said NATE Chairman Jim Tracy. “Workforce development is a top priority for the Association. The grant funding made available through this legislation will play a critical role in recruiting and training a pipeline of future workers at the community college and technical schools as the industry prepares for substantially greater demand for communications tower services resulting from the Broadcast Repack transition, FirstNet build-out and the densification of networks on the road to 5G.”
The Communications Jobs Training Act of 2018 is a direct result of a hearing in the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Communications and Technology Subcommittee, where the importance of having a well-trained workforce was a major theme.