US politicians revived legislation which would provide up to $20 million to expand job training schemes for communications tower technicians, to overcome what industry experts expect will be a massive worker shortage.
The bill, which first surfaced in Congress during 2018, would create a programme to provide grants to universities, community colleges and vocational schools to establish and administer relevant training courses.
Distribution of the funds would be overseen by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
In a statement, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr said there is a need to add 20,000 more tower workers as operators press ahead with 5G deployments.
Carr, who has repeatedly spotlighted the looming worker shortage, said the country will need to “double the number of tower crews” working on next generation infrastructure to win the race to 5G, adding the training programme could “help extend America’s global leadership in wireless” by “creating a pipeline of talented” teams.
The bill elicited support from the National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE), which previously highlighted the issue as one of the industry’s “most daunting challenges”.
Currently in committee review phase, the measure must be passed by Congress and signed by the president to become law.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back