WIA Partners with Ashland University to Offer Broadband and 5G Training to Incarcerated Individuals

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA) today announced a new partnership with Ashland University to help approximately 140 incarcerated individuals, who are eligible for release within 12 months, prepare for careers in broadband and 5G this spring and summer. With expanded funding from the Ohio Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation’s Individual Microcredential Assistance Program (IMAP), Ashland University (AU) will offer the first credential of WIA’s four-part 5G Readiness Certification. 

WIA’s 5G Readiness Certification consists of four stackable credentials focused on wireless broadband infrastructure, 5G ecosystems, in-building wireless solutions, and 5G and broadband deployment. Through the program, AU will offer the first two credentials to incarcerated individuals, and upon release, they will be able to take the third and fourth credentials to earn the certification. This training will prepare participants to interview for jobs in occupations such as Small Cell Technician, Wireless Technician, Fiber Optic Technician, Drive Test Technician, and several others.

On March 20, AU instructors, who were trained by WIA, began delivering credential one of the program to eligible students in the Richland Correctional Institution, the Belmont Correctional Institution, and the Northeast Reintegration Center.

“WIA is proud to partner with Ashland University and offer this opportunity to individuals who are re-entering the workforce, as Ohio continues to invest in its broadband workforce,” said Tim House, Executive Vice President of WIA. “This partnership represents our growing commitment to support Ohio’s leadership in building a skilled broadband workforce by creating a talent pipeline for good jobs that will meet the broadband deployment demands of today and tomorrow.”

“We are grateful for our partnership with WIA,” said Shawn Orr, dean of eAshland. “This professional organization is innovative, collaborative, and passionate about supporting all students as we, together, build a broadband workforce for Ohio.

“Our Workforce Development team has also been working with WIA for over a year to deliver the 5G Readiness Certification to unemployed, underemployed and low-income Ohioans, including traditional AU students and community members. Having the ability to offer these credentials to more people will strengthen Ohio’s workforce and increase our ability to create broadband infrastructure throughout Ohio.”

Credential One of WIA’s 5G Readiness program takes four weeks to complete and is non-credit, making it accessible to those who might not have had time, or who weren’t eligible to complete a degree program. Incarcerated students taking Credential One this spring will finish on April 17, and WIA and Ashland University are planning an event to award students the credentials in-person.

“This program is available to everyone who is eligible, even if they are not enrolled in other AU programs,” said Denise Justice, executive director of Correctional Relations for Ashland University. “Offering this industry-recognized micro-credential can have an immediate and valuable impact on their future.”

AU is one of two training providers across the state approved to provide the 5G Readiness Certification from WIA, with funding sources available to pay for the training through IMAP and TechCred. To date, approximately 14 students have completed the entire certification, and an additional 20 students have completed two of the four credentials. The program will continue to evolve and expand as funding opportunities allow.

To learn more about the 5G Readiness Certification or to register to take Credential One through Ashland University, visit www.ashland.edu/5G. Credential One is offered online from April 24 to May 22. Students who qualify for IMAP funding can receive this training, a $1,700 value, at no cost. To determine IMAP eligibility, email 5G@ashland.edu.

About WIA                                                                                                                                  

The Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA) represents the businesses that build, develop, own, and operate the nation’s wireless infrastructure. WIA advocates for the widespread, responsible deployment of wireless infrastructure to enable mobile broadband for communities everywhere. 

About Ashland University

Ashland University is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.

Media Contact: Marshall Miller | 717-951-0795 | marshall.miller@wia.org

Ashland University Media Contact: Hugh Howard | hhoward4@ashland.edu