Dr. Rikin Thakker’s Remarks at the Ohio Broadband and 5G Sector Partnership Grant Application and 5G Readiness Program Announcement

Youngstown, Ohio

Good morning,

It is an honor to be here at the announcement of the “5G Readiness” training programs with these two prestigious schools. The Wireless Infrastructure Association is thrilled to partner with Youngstown State University and Ashland University.

On behalf of WIA and the entire wireless industry, I would like to congratulate Lieutenant Governor Husted and his administration. When the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation released a report last month on “Strengthening Ohio’s Broadband and 5G Workforce”, the Lt. Governor outlined a number of initiatives, including the 5G Sector Partnership and 5G Readiness Program. Only a month has passed and this administration has already taken action, announcing these programs which are connecting education and industry partners to help solve the identified workforce challenges. This is exemplary for many states that are trying to find innovative workforce solutions.  

President Tressel (Youngstown State University) and President Campo (Ashland University), we are thrilled to partner with you and your prestigious institutions. We need enterprising leaders like you who understand industry partnerships and the benefits they bring to the students. 

WIA was invited to participate in numerous stakeholder meetings organized by the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation and BroadbandOhio this year. “5G Readiness” is one of the solutions we at WIA can provide to help address the challenges we discussed during these meetings. Through this partnership, Ohio will not only create the high-skilled workforce needed to deploy 5G networks, but will also prepare itself to more quickly build the broadband infrastructure needed to bridge the digital divide.

5G deployment is expected to create 4.6 million jobs over the next decade. Unlike its predecessors, 5G is not just another wireless technology. It integrates wireline and wireless advancements and will transform many other industries, including healthcare, education, manufacturing, transportation, and defense. However, all of this will rely on the timely deployment of 5G networks.

We know that the broadband and telecom industry has a massive shortage of skilled workers. To help overcome this challenge, employers need industry-focused training and curriculum that can be delivered through various outlets. WIA’s Telecommunication Education Center (TEC) is working hard to facilitate this training to help close the skill gaps we are facing in the industry.

WIA’s “5G Readiness” training includes classroom instructions coupled with hands-on exercises.  Our industry-validated content has been designed with the help of 5G subject matter experts from both industry and academia.

Students will earn the “5G Readiness” certificate from WIA that bundles ten (10) industry-recognized certificates from the Telecommunications Education Center. Our program will not only bring awareness of career options to the students but will also show them different entry points to our industry.

The training will lead to the competencies required to design and deploy telecommunications solutions, including mobile broadband, 5G, and fiber. As an added benefit, the training further prepares students for the workforce by meeting the Related Technical Instructions (RTI) requirements of a variety of occupations under the Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program (TIRAP), of which WIA is the national sponsor.

Thank you again Lt. Governor, for investing in these programs and also announcing the 5G Sector Partnership Grant. President Tressel and President Campo, we look forward to collaborating with you and your fine institutions to help train the workforce of the future and to put Ohioans to work.

Thank you.