It is a privilege to be here and to support this unprecedented investment in broadband and the workforce of the future in Ohio.
On behalf of the wireless industry, I congratulate Lieutenant Governor Husted and his entire administration. I commend your vision and these laudable goals. We are eager to work with you.
At its core, this investment signals a transformation. For 5G is not just the next generation of speed, it is a catalyst for change and economic development some have characterized as on par with electricity and the printing press.
Experts project that 5G deployment will contribute up to $1.7 trillion to US GDP and create up to 4.6 million jobs in the next decade. This new technology’s impact will be felt in nearly every sector, including healthcare, education, manufacturing and transportation.
Yet, currently, there is a mismatch between workforce skills and the needs of the industry. The full deployment of the infrastructure needed for 5G will require workforce training to address the shortage of properly trained workers. The FCC’s working group on “Job Skills and Training Opportunity” under the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee highlighted this skills-gap issue. As digital infrastructure of all shapes and sizes is designed, built and maintained, this gap is likely to widen if reskilling and training efforts are not addressed properly.
And I can attest first hand, the 5G boom has begun and the skills gap is all too real. I hear every day from employers that they cannot find the skilled workers that they need to address growing demand. That is why investments such as those outlined by the Lt Governor are so exciting. They are necessary for today and also forward looking – better preparing a whole new generation of skilled worker.
The good news is that industry is ready to collaborate with you to address these skills gaps and to put Ohioans to work. WIA helped to pioneer the Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program in 2014 and after becoming its sponsor in 2017 grew the program rapidly to 60 employers and more than 3000 apprentices. The DOL registered program has 11 occupations with several more focusing on engineering, project management and other technical skills on the horizon. We also created the Telecommunications Education Center, a platform of more than 30 world-class courses which will better prepare students for a career in the wireless telecommunications industry.
We look forward to working with Lieutenant Governor Husted to help him realize his vision, to prepare Ohioans for jobs building the next generation of digital infrastructure and to transform the workforce system so that everyone has an opportunity to thrive in this ever-evolving digital economy.