U.S. Department of Labor, WIA and TIRAP Celebrate Apprenticeships, Workforce Development

Private Employers Honored for Adding More Than 1,500 Apprenticeships in Telecom

Washington, DC, Nov. 28, 2017 – The Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program (TIRAP) and the Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA), which serves as the National Sponsor for the program, joined officials from the U.S. Department of Labor today to celebrate the significant accomplishment of adding 1,500 registered apprenticeships to the wireless industry.

Officials from the Department of Labor and the U.S. Occupations Safety and Health Administration joined representatives from several private employers on panels to explore the role apprenticeships and training and education will play in developing the skilled workforce the U.S. needs as it prepares for the widespread deployment of 5G mobile networks.

Commissioner Brendan Carr from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) delivered opening remarks at the event, which was hosted by the Department of Labor.

“We have a tremendous opportunity in the tech and telecom sector to create jobs, spur investment, and grow the economy for the benefit of all Americans,” Commissioner Carr told the audience. “It’s one of the reasons I’m focused in my role on the Federal Communications Commission on policies that will promote broadband deployment. Whether it’s the workers that manufacture and deploy broadband infrastructure, the app economy that runs over high-speed networks, or the businesses that use these connections to reach customers around the world, broadband can harness the talents of all Americans, create good-paying jobs, and help drive our nation’s economic growth.”

Employers honored at today’s event include: Centerline Solutions of Golden, Colo.; Mercury Communications & Construction Inc. of Fenton, Mo.; MUTI of Champaign, Ill.; Novation Enterprises of Fairfax, Va.; Vertical Limit of Wanamingo, Minn.; Hightower Communications Inc. of LaGrange, N.C.; Lee Antenna & Line Services Inc. of Springtown, Pa.; Tri-State Tower of Marion, Iowa; Enertech of Austin, Texas; TowerMRL of Hudson, Wisc.; Verticom of Dallas, Texas; Deep South Communications of Baton Rouge, La.; Rio Steel & Tower of Alvardo, Texas; Finish Tower of Hiawatha, Iowa;  ERI Installations of Chandler, Ind., and Tilson of Portland, Maine.

“This is an historic time for the telecommunications sector as we show the vital role apprenticeships can play in developing a well-trained and highly skilled workforce,” said TIRAP Board Chairman Scott Kisting, Executive Vice President Proactive Telecommunications Solutions, LLC. “The private sector understands how important registered apprenticeships are to building a stronger workforce. By ensuring the needs of industry are met and working with the government, the industry is able to create more jobs for Americans.”

Jonathan Adelstein, President and CEO of WIA, added that the training and workforce development work currently being conducted by TIRAP and participating employers will prove vital as the nation starts to deploy the next generation of mobile networks as well as maintaining the networks.

“These pioneering small and mid-sized companies are the heart of the wireless infrastructure industry,” Adelstein told the audience. “They’re the boots on the ground. These companies are building and maintaining the towers and installing the fiber networks and small cells in communities across the nation. These companies and others like them need more workers to build new communications networks as we expand to carry 5G. And once they’re built, they need to maintain them. So, just like wireless is here to stay, this workforce is not going away. It will only grow as the wireless industry grows.”

WIA represents the businesses that develop, build, own and operate the nation’s wireless infrastructure. Members include wireless carriers, infrastructure providers, and professional services firms that collectively own and operate telecommunications facilities around the globe. WIA supports its diverse members and the entire wireless industry through advocacy, communications, events, and education.

As National Sponsor of TIRAP serves as the link between the employers and the registered apprenticeship program. WIA manages and coordinates the development of apprenticeship programs for each participating employer, and fields all inquiries from telecommunications companies interested in learning more about TIRAP.

TIRAP is a joint venture of telecommunications companies, industry associations and the U.S. Department of Labor that develops DOL-credentialed apprenticeship programs available to qualified employers for career development of the telecommunications workforce, focused on ensuring quality, enabling efficiency, while ensuring a safe working environment.

Members of TIRAP’s Executive Board include Scott Kisting, Executive Vice President of Proactive Telecommunications Solutions, LLC; Art Pregler, Director of National Mobility Systems for AT&T; Beau Aero, President and Founder of GME Supply; Joel Hightower, Owner of Hightower Communications; David Sams, Vice President of Risk Management of SBA Network Services, Inc.; James Walker Pontius,  Director of Network Operations for US Cellular; Jonathan Adelstein, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Wireless Infrastructure Association; Laurie Gebhardt, HQ Director of Network Engineering & Operations Support for Verizon Wireless; Kelley Dunne, President and Co-Founder of Warriors 4 Wireless;  Paul Roberts, Vice President of Compliance for American Tower Corp.; and Richard Cullum, Program Manager – Special Projects of Crown Castle.  Additional support is provided by Stephanie Brewer, Compliance Coordinator for MUTI-Sabre Industries, and Deb Bennett, Apprenticeship Director for WIA.