NATE Chairman Jimmy Miller, President at MillerCo, Inc. in Gulfport, Mississippi, provided expert witness testimony to the Senate Senate Commerce Committee yesterday in Washington, D.C. The hearing, “The 5G Workforce and Obstacles to Broadband Deployment,” was convened by Senator Roger Wicker, (R-MS), who chairs the committee.
During his remarks, Miller provided perspective on the industry’s challenge to attract, recruit and retain a workforce capable of possessing the diverse skill set necessary to produce the expansion of universal broadband, public safety and ubiquitous 5G coverage across the country. As part of his testimony, Miller also discussed other barriers that are threats to the industry’s efforts to deploy next generation technologies and close the digital divide.
Miller also provided solutions, such as NATE’s workforce development and training initiatives. Miller and NATE support legislation that has been introduced in Congress, including H.R. 1848 – the Communications Jobs Training Act. Miller urged Wicker and his colleagues to introduce companion legislation in the Senate.
The measure would establish a competitive grant program at the FCC and appropriate $20 million per year for three fiscal years to develop classroom and field-based curriculum and certificate programs at community colleges, technical institutes and military organizations. Passage of the bill is NATE’s top legislative priority for the 116th Congress, Miller testified.