Fiber Broadband Association publishes Workforce Development Guidebook

May 11, 2023
The resource is designed to help U.S. state broadband offices (SBOs), state and local workforce/economic development boards, and similar agencies develop workforce development strategies for the NTIA’s $42.45 billion BEAD program.

The Fiber Broadband Association (FBA) has announced publication of its new Workforce Development Guidebook. The resource is designed to help U.S. state broadband offices (SBOs), state and local workforce/economic development boards, and similar agencies develop workforce development strategies for the NTIA’s $42.45 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program.

Public funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and BEAD program will help spur significant broadband infrastructure deployments – if the necessary technicians and other workers can be found. The FBA notes that the U.S. government estimates that BEAD alone will create 150,000 telecom jobs; the association estimates that operators and others will need to fill more than 205,000 new job slots in the next five years to deploy, operate, and maintain new broadband networks country-wide.

The FBA says its Workforce Development Guidebook focuses on the training and "upskilling" activities described in the workforce planning requirements NTIA included in its recent Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). The publication provides context on the telecommunications landscape and covers broadband workforce development, including guidance on how to craft and deploy an effective workforce development strategy.

“The importance of BEAD and complexity of issues facing the broadband industry cannot be left to chance. Our Workforce Development Guide provides a formula that state broadband offices can follow to guarantee their Five-Year Action Plans address workforce development alongside planned miles and materials so they can successfully administer BEAD deployment programs,” said Deborah Kish, vice president of research and workforce development at the FBA. “Due to the scale and complexity of BEAD, even states with experience deploying broadband programs will encounter new challenges in planning for BEAD. This guidebook will enable them to build a comprehensive approach with a state workforce development strategy that invests in skills and training and ensures success for individuals and for service providers.”

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About the Author

Stephen Hardy | Editorial Director and Associate Publisher, Lightwave

Stephen Hardy is editorial director and associate publisher of Lightwave and Broadband Technology Report, part of the Lighting & Technology Group at Endeavor Business Media. Stephen is responsible for establishing and executing editorial strategy across the both brands’ websites, email newsletters, events, and other information products. He has covered the fiber-optics space for more than 20 years, and communications and technology for more than 35 years. During his tenure, Lightwave has received awards from Folio: and the American Society of Business Press Editors (ASBPE) for editorial excellence. Prior to joining Lightwave in 1997, Stephen worked for Telecommunications magazine and the Journal of Electronic Defense.

Stephen has moderated panels at numerous events, including the Optica Executive Forum, ECOC, and SCTE Cable-Tec Expo. He also is program director for the Lightwave Innovation Reviews and the Diamond Technology Reviews.

He has written numerous articles in all aspects of optical communications and fiber-optic networks, including fiber to the home (FTTH), PON, optical components, DWDM, fiber cables, packet optical transport, optical transceivers, lasers, fiber optic testing, and more.

You can connect with Stephen on LinkedIn as well as Twitter.

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