Last night, the 2019 WIA Awards at the Conrad Hotel in Washington, D.C. honored members of Congress, the FCC, and industry leadership that support development of the workforce needed to build America’s 5G wireless networks. Hosted by the Wireless Infrastructure Association Foundation, proceeds will benefit wireless education, training, and apprenticeships.
WIA President and CEO Jonathan Adelstein led off the evening with an aside to those in the crowd following the one-game playoff between the Washington Nationals and the Milwaukee Brewers: “One thing we don’t say at WIA events is turn off your cell phones.” Adelstein said the event raised $400,000 for workforce building efforts and will help teach over 1,300 new entrants to the wireless industry. Individual honorees included: Brendan Carr, FCC Commissioner; Susan Johnson, Executive VP, AT&T; Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY).
The two main programs benefiting from last night’s proceeds are:
- WIA’s Telecommunications Education Center (TEC), a dynamic educational program designed to equip the wireless workforce to meet the demands of 5G build-out and deployment through technical skills training.
- Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program (TIRAP), a multi-employer, nationwide apprenticeship program credentialed by the U.S. Department of Labor to train the telecommunications workforce for sustainable careers and 5G infrastructure build-out and deployment needs.
“We now have the world’s largest 5G build,” said Carr. 5G is creating jobs he added, not only for “coders, those wearing zip-up hoodies sipping lattes.” He spoke about those doing the hard, outside work. “They tend to wear hard hats. They scale towers,” he said.
Carr discussed his jobs training program. He recently visited a community college in South Dakota that’s working with other technical schools to develop a curriculum. The wireless “industry can fill 20,000 jobs for tower techs,” he added.
He joked before he wrapped up that those who left the event early to catch the Washington Nationals in the playoffs “will find red tape” in their stocking.
October 2, 2019