Congressmen Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) and Dave Loebsack (IA-02) reintroduced 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 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 has been endorsed by the National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE).
“The need to continually expand broadband internet across our country is greater than ever,” said Mullin. “As that demand increases, we must also have a skilled workforce in place to meet those 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.”
“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” said Loebsack.
“The National Association of Tower Erectors 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.
The Communications Jobs Training Act of 2019 came as a direct 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.