I was very excited when I first read this headline, because I assumed training meant digital inclusion training – for folks at all rungs of the digital inclusion ladder. What it really seems to mean is apprenticeships to help build the network, not necessarily use the network.
In a joint letter to the White House and Congress, the Competitive Carriers Association (CCA), the Fiber Broadband Association (FBA), INCOMPAS, NATE: The Communications Infrastructure Contractors Association, NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association, Power & Communication Contractors Association (PCCA), the Telecommunications Industry Association, USTelecom – The Broadband Association, the Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA), and the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) asked for any infrastructure legislation to include support for broadband-related job skills.
The industry expects as many as 3 million jobs to be created as a result of expansion of 5G communications. The technology is also expected to contribute $500 billion annually to the economy, according to the associations.
The letter proposes that apprenticeship programs would offer diversity, safety and good-paying jobs. The industry already employs some 672,000 workers, while average annual wages are in excess of $77,500.
I’m a big proponent of education (I have two Master’s degrees) so I’m warm to any sort of training to help people get better jobs. But I’d love to see some training on how to use the network too – both in terms of closing the digital divide and making sure people have basic skills to find a job, write an email, work from home but also the education to create new jobs for themselves, pursue dreams and innovate.