WIA Partners with HBCUs to Connect Minority Communities with Careers in Broadband

ARLINGTON, Va. As a national leader in developing the broadband workforce, the Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA) is proud to announce it has launched a new Connecting Minority Communities Apprenticeship Consortium (CMCAC) with three HBCUs: Central State University, Tennessee State University, and Virginia State University.

Apprenticeships are a proven model for building a diverse and highly skilled workforce to meet the demands of broadband and 5G buildout. WIA established CMCAC with its HBCU partners to sustain and expand workforce partnerships between industry, education, and government with the goal of creating and promoting accessible apprenticeship opportunities that allow the students HBCUs serve to earn while they learn.  

“WIA is focused on building a diverse talent pipeline to meet the demand of broadband buildout and network innovation now and into the future,” said WIA President and CEO Patrick Halley. “We are proud to partner with these HBCUs to ensure the communities they serve can successfully pursue high-quality broadband and wireless career opportunities. To achieve connectivity everywhere and share the benefits of broadband expansion equally, we need a workforce that looks like America—and the Connecting Minority Communities Apprenticeship Consortium will help make that happen.”

“HBCUs have a storied history dating back to1837 and are well-positioned to lead this innovative apprenticeship initiative of outreach and education to underserved and other statutory covered populations. The CMCAC is the foundation to establishing a formalized network of HBCUs and other minority serving institutions to help bring adequate high speed broadband services to everyone and everywhere,” said CMCAC principal architect and WIA Senior Advisor and Strategist, Dr. Ronald Johnson.

“Preparing students for the 21-century workforce and creating partnerships to enhance career opportunities is core to our mission,” said Dr. Dawit Haile, Dean of College of Engineering & Technology and Interim Vice Provost at Virginia State University. “Apprenticeships in broadband are critical opportunities that more students should have access to, and we look forward to working with WIA, other institutions of higher education, and government to promote these quality career pathways.” 

“We are eager to partner with WIA and our fellow HBCUs to develop sustainable apprenticeship programs that will empower the students, faculty and communities we serve to participate in the workforce of tomorrow,” said Dr. Morakinyo A.O. Kuti, Vice-President for Research and Economic Development of Central State University. “As President-designate, I look forward to continuing our collaborating with WIA to connect more diverse talent with high quality career opportunities in the broadband industry.” 

“This CMCAC partnership will help us expand access to careers in the booming broadband sector for our students and targeted communities,” said Dr. Lin Li, Dean, College of Engineering at Tennessee State University.  “Everyone stands to benefit when we build a more diverse workforce through the intersection of rigorous pedagogy and student learning in quality apprenticeship programs that lead to sustainable careers in the broadband industry.” 

CMCAC members are committed to these focus areas:

  1. Accelerate and strengthen the HBCUs’ capacity to develop and maintain sustainable apprenticeship programs for students, alumni, and surrounding communities.
  2. Establish an apprenticeship development process of shared resources within the CMCAC network members to enable universities and the region to produce more highly qualified apprentices for high paying jobs in broadband.
  3. Strengthen apprenticeship awareness within all academic departments and programs involving STEM and increase the number of STEM health sciences, business, and other students interested in apprenticeships within the broadband industry and government sectors.
  4. Increase the number of apprenticeship placements each year and the number of industry partnerships where demand exceeds available qualified labor sources.
  5. Collect and share information and resources across institutional boundaries.

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 connectivity everywhere.

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