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NATE Praises Senate’s Telecom Workforce Bill

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(Image credit: Future)

WASHINGTON—NATE welcomed the introduction of the Telecommunications Skilled Workforce Act in the Senate earlier this week, believing that it could be a “springboard” for developing future telecom technicians.

The Telecommunications Skilled Workforce Act was introduced in the Senate on Feb. 2 by Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), all of which are on the Senate Committee of Commerce, Science and Transportation. A previous version of the bill was crafted last year, but did not make it out of committee.

The bill would have the federal government and states create an interagency working group and require a GAO assessment of the workforce needs estimated to deploy broadband infrastructure to rural areas and support the installation of 5G wireless technology.

Recently, 11 industry organizations sent a joint letter to the White House and Congress urging support for broadband-related job skills development as part of any infrastructure legislation. NATE believes that this new bill is acknowledgment of the need to address telecom workforce issues.

“[I]t is great to see this bi-partisan group of U.S. Senators come out of the gate strong in the 117th Congress through the introduction of this legislation,” said Todd Schlekewy, president and CEO of NATE. “NATE believes that the provisions outlined in the Telecommunications Skilled Workforce Act can serve as a springboard to fostering greater collaboration between the federal government, state workforce boards, higher education and industry to accomplish the ultimate goal of developing a future pipeline of skilled technicians that the country sorely needs to meet its ambitious broadband and 5G deployment objectives.”

More information on the Telecommunications Skilled Workforce Act is available online