California is going to need tens of thousands of workers over the next six years as we continue to build the broadband network to bring high-speed internet to underserved areas.
Now, the feds have¬†awarded $5.8 million¬†to the Communications Workers of America to supercharge its workforce training program.
Frank Arce, vice president of Communications Workers of America District 9, which encompasses California, Nevada, Hawaii and Guam, said the union is partnering with the Chabot-Las Positas Community College District in the Bay Area to expand its apprenticeship program.
“We’re planning on focusing on underserved communities,” Arce explained. “Really making sure it’s a locally based workforce, people of color, women, veterans, and young people.”
The plan is to open three more paid apprenticeship training programs over the next few years in the Fresno, Chico and Los Angeles areas. The state is set to allocate more than $5 billion to extend high speed internet in rural areas, and the Infrastructure Act will send hundreds of millions in federal funds to bolster the effort.
Arce pointed out the grant also will allow the union to partner with employers to bolster working families.
“It’s a great opportunity for people to get some skills and set themselves into a solid middle-class job,” Arce asserted. “We’re taking advantage of this opportunity that we’re building our infrastructure in the country to see if we can get some Californians out to work.”
Arce noted in the past, unscrupulous subcontractors working for telecom companies have cut corners and treated workers poorly. But he added the publicly-funded program will raise the standards to require high-quality materials, workmanship and employee benefits.
Photo Caption: The Brookings Institute predicts the broadband buildout across the U.S. will create 200,000 new jobs for telecom technicians in the coming years. Photo Credit: Photomix Company / Pexels