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The CWA Announces ‘New & Expanded’ Apprenticeship & Training Initiatives,’ Millions In Investments To Grow & Diversify Workforce Ahead Of Nationwide Broadband Expansion’

Published Friday, November 11, 2022
by CWA News
The CWA Announces ‘New & Expanded’ Apprenticeship & Training Initiatives,’ Millions In Investments To Grow & Diversify Workforce Ahead Of Nationwide Broadband Expansion’

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - The Communications Workers of America (CWA) has announced a slate of new industry and employer partnerships to support Technician training, as all 50 states prepare plans for subsidizing high-speed broadband buildouts under President Joe Biden’s Internet for All initiative.

The announcement comes as CWA headlines a White House event celebrating commitments made under the Biden Administration’s Talent Pipeline Challenge, a call to action for employers, Unions, Education and Training Providers, philanthropic organizations, and State and local leaders to make tangible commitments that support equitable workforce development within the Broadband, Construction and Electric Vehicle Sectors.

The effort aims to ensure highly skilled and trained Workers are ready to meet the demands of implementing the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which included $65 billion in funding to reinforce and expand the Nation’s Broadband Infrastructure.

As the country’s largest Union representing Telecommunications Workers, CWA will advance a number of new and expanded initiatives, including statewide expansion of Fiber Technician Apprenticeship across California led by CWA District 9.

In partnership with Chabot-Las Positas Community College District in San Jose, California the Union was recently awarded a $5.8 million Federal Department of Labor Apprenticeship Building America Grant and has additional funding opportunities in various stages of development.

Through its existing Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (JATC) based in San Jose, which has administered Apprenticeship for Inside Cabling Technicians for more than 20 years - and recently expanded to include Fiber Optic Technicians, CWA District 9 expects to train more than 150 new Technicians in anticipation of the major investments in broadband deployment by the State.

The program will also recertify returning technicians who have been sidelined by job cuts and disinvestment from broadband providers.

At the event, CWA and NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association also announced an innovative partnership to engage NTCA’s Membership, which consists of hundreds of independent, community-based broadband providers.

CWA and NTCA will work together to make Apprenticeship Programs accessible to NTCA member companies and offer companies the opportunity to have Employees participate in a U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 10 Training Course delivered by OSHA-authorized CWA Trainers who are Broadband Technicians themselves.

Carrying an OSHA 10 card is of great benefit to job seekers, as certain job sites require these credentials.

 “CWA has a long history of Labor-Management training partnerships, and CWA-represented Broadband Technicians have been critical in training and mentoring Technicians of the future,” CWA President Chris Shelton said. 

“With significant investment from the Biden Administration and strong commitments in place from our industry partners, we can make these highly skilled and technical careers within reach for many more Workers, including former technicians who are on the sidelines due to years of job cuts.  It is critical not only to diversify our workforce and offer opportunities for economic mobility and job security, but to meet the Nation’s urgent need for high-speed fiber broadband in every home,” he added.

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