Walberg, Clarke Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Build Skilled Telecom Workforce
Washington, D.C.—U.S. Representatives Tim Walberg (MI-07) and Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09) yesterday introduced H.R. 3255, the TOWER Infrastructure Deployment Act, bipartisan legislation to help close the workforce shortage in the telecommunications industry. H.R. 3255 reflects the need for a highly-skilled, professional workforce equipped to deploy 5G, lightning-fast broadband networks, and new broadcast technology.
“As the telecom industry deploys next generation technologies, there are tens of thousands of good-paying, highly-skilled jobs but nobody to fill them. Developing a skilled workforce needs to be a top priority,” said Congressman Walberg. “By streamlining workforce development programs and promoting industry collaboration, we can free up resources for greater broadband deployment instead of recreating the same curriculum across the country.”
“Women and people of color are underrepresented in the telecom industry, which is why I am committed to drafting and supporting legislation that addresses this unacceptable reality. As a black woman, I know how capable women and people of color are which compelled me to lead a bipartisan effort to address the telecom industry’s workforce diversity shortage. I am excited to witness my fellow women and people of color who will act as trailblazers in bringing 5G to America,” said Congresswoman Clarke.
“I commend Reps. Walberg and Clarke for introducing this important bill. We are especially pleased that a representative from the Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program, or TIRAP, will serve on the newly formed Advisory Council. This measure will provide the necessary focus to help train a 5G-ready workforce, including the need for apprenticeships in telecommunications, which is imperative for the U.S. to win the global 5G race. The wireless infrastructure industry will continue leading efforts to develop a skilled, professional workforce capable of deploying next-generation wireless networks. The road to 5G cannot be slowed by the lack of a trained workforce. We deeply appreciate the leadership of Reps. Walberg and Clarke on creating the jobs of the future for growing the wireless workforce,” said Jonathan Adelstein, President and CEO of the Wireless Infrastructure Association.
Through his work on the Energy and Commerce Committee, Walberg has been focused on bringing next-generation connectivity to rural communities. Building on the Committee’s success last Congress to help streamline infrastructure regulations and expand access to critical spectrum, this bipartisan bill helps fill a critical, missing piece of the equation: preparing a skilled workforce to bring these technologies to reality.
About H.R. 3255, the TOWER Infrastructure Deployment Act of 2019
- Creates an advisory council at the Federal Communications Commission to examine the needs of the telecommunications industry as it transitions to new technologies like 5G, next-generation broadband, and next-generation television.
- The council would develop recommendations to improve and streamline workforce development in the telecommunications industry, especially for underrepresented communities.
- The council would also report information about the needs of the telecommunications industry and recommendations to improve participation in workforce development programs