YOUNGSTOWN — A new state grant will help Ohio colleges and universities expand telecommunications training and workforce readiness programs, like the one launching at Youngstown State University.
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted on Monday announced the state's new Broadband and 5G Sector Partnership Grant application, as well as new 5G Readiness Programs at YSU and Ashland University.
The state's broadband strategy calls for a partnership program to design and distribute curriculum and training programs creating a pipeline of skilled workers for the telecommunications industry, according to a Monday news release from the Governor's Office of Workforce Transformation, which Husted serves as director.
During the application process, higher education institutions identify a nonprofit telecommunications partner to "lead the effort." The application window opens Oct. 25 and closes Dec. 17. The grant award will be announced in January.
“Through BroadbandOhio, our administration is aggressively working to expand high-speed internet access around Ohio, but we can’t build the infrastructure without programs to train and produce a workforce,” said Husted. “This sector partnership will spur the creation of even more training programs in the state, allowing more Ohioans to earn the skills and credentials needed to get a job in this fast-growing industry.”
The strategy involves increasing awareness about broadband industry jobs and developing more training programs like the ones at YSU and Ashland, expected to provide students "an understanding of the core fundamentals of 5G" and help them start their jobs with higher positions and wages.
YSU's 80-hour program is set to start in the spring 2022 semester and cover a wide variety of topics such as cellular communication theories, 5G technologies, fiber for wireless, Wi-Fi integration and more. Both YSU and Ashland are partnering with the Wireless Infrastructure Association to develop the program.
“We want to thank the lieutenant governor and the Wireless Infrastructure Association for bringing quality industry training programs to YSU and [the] Youngstown/Mahoning region," said YSU President Jim Tressel.
"The growth and impact of 5G emerging technology jobs will be a catalyst to creating prosperity for our region. YSU is excited to be a part of this pilot training program and the state’s effort to create the future workforce for the broadband industry. We look forward to working with WIA member companies on creating internships and apprenticeship for students in these programs.”