The demand for wireless infrastructure continues to outpace the industry's existing labor force of trained technology professionals, engineers and field technicians. This skills gap poses serious threats to the nation's ability to expand wireless broadband coverage in urban, suburban and rural markets. Apprenticeship is one of the primary tools that industry are using to address this need quickly and efficiently.
"Apprenticeships in the telecommunications industry provide workers with quality jobs and clear paths to rewarding careers in a growing sector of the economy...We enthusiastically endorse the apprenticeship reforms announced today by President Trump, and plan to rely on them to make apprenticeships a reality in a whole new sector: the telecommunications industry."
Jonathan Adelstein, CEO, Wireless Infrastructure Association
High-Demand Apprenticeship Occupations:
Telecommunications giant Time Warner Cable has been using apprenticeships for years to fill its broadband technician positions, among others. In 2008, the company partnered with the North Carolina Department of Labor to develop a three-year program for broadband technicians that involved 6,000 hours of on-the-job learning and 472 hours of related instruction. By 2015, Time Warner was once again partnered with North Carolina, as well as South Carolina and Texas, to allow individuals in the military, or those out of the service for fewer than 10 years, to utilize their GI Bill benefits while completing a broadband technician apprenticeship, while simultaneously collecting their apprentice salaries. Individuals who complete Time Warner's broadband technician apprenticeship program also gain a nationally recognized certificate.
Vertical Limit, an early adopter of Telecommunications Industry Apprenticeship Program (TIRAP), is a leading service solutions provider to the wireless industry headquartered in Minnesota with offices in Colorado, Texas, Wisconsin, and Illinois. At Vertical Limit, providing a clear career path for employees is ingrained within their culture. Integrating TIRAP into this existing career path strategy allows them to provide even more growth and development opportunities for their employees, as well as ensuring their training and education curriculum are aligned with generally accepted best practices of the wireless industry. TIRAP meets this need because TIRAP's Executive Board and Advisors are some of the top leaders and experts in the industry, and the curriculum reflects the most innovative and most recent best practices of the wireless industry. Vertical Limit has always been very committed to any effort that will help move the wireless telecommunications industry forward and to keep workers safe. They are grateful to be participating in TIRAP and are confident that it will be a value-added experience for everyone involved.
These resources provide the information and building blocks you need to start designing your apprenticeship program.
Jobs for the Future (JFF) is partnering with associations and leading innovators to dramatically increase the number of telecommunications firms utilizing apprenticeship. JFF brings decades of implementation experience and technical knowledge to the work of increasing the reach and impact of apprenticeships across the nation. JFF's apprenticeship efforts provide options to expand:
The National Urban League (NUL) is an historic civil rights organization dedicated to economic empowerment in order to elevate the standard of living in historically underserved urban communities. NUL and two national partners — the Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA) and the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC) — launched the Wireless Infrastructure Apprenticeship Access Initiative (WIAAI) to cultivate opportunities in the Information and Communications Technology sector. Key goals include:
In Orlando, Florida in May 2017, the Wireless Infrastructure Show (WIS) hosted by WIA presented JFF and NUL with an ideal opportunity to make apprenticeship real for wireless industry employers. In collaboration with WIA, JFF and NUL co-hosted an Accelerator to guide new businesses through the apprenticeship process. The event provided an opportunity for in-depth, in-person discussions about how apprenticeship can meet each company's unique talent development needs. Four companies signed employer agreements committing to sponsor apprentices at the Accelerator and two other companies sent in agreements within days after the event.