UPDATE Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), members of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, introduced the TOWER Infrastructure Deployment Act (TOWER Act) on Thursday to increase broadband deployment and close the workforce shortage in the telecommunications industry. The measure is companion legislation to HR 3255, introduced in June.
“A strong and dependable workforce is critical to keeping our nation’s telecommunications industry a global leader,” said Gardner.
“Workers on the Hoyt radio tower in Hoyt, Colorado have to scale almost 2,000 feet into the air to maintain communications equipment, that kind of work requires courage, dedication, and intensive training. The TOWER Act would ensure the FCC remains focused on ways to expand and strengthen the telecommunications workforce and involve a variety of stakeholders in that process.”
“Our bill helps hardworking Arizonans gain the skills to succeed in the jobs of the future and helps bridge the digital divide in our state,” said Sinema.
The TOWER Act requires the FCC to improve and streamline workforce development programs to prepare for next-generation communications infrastructure.
Wireless Infrastructure Association Head of Government Affairs Matt Mandel said the association supports the measure because it addresses one of the biggest barriers to 5G deployment: the lack of a properly trained workforce. “This bill will provide the FCC with the necessary focus to help train a 5G-ready workforce. We are especially pleased that a representative from the Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program (TIRAP) will serve on the newly formed Advisory Council.”
August 2, 2019