The Fiber Broadband Association (FBA) on Mar. 9 announced that Deborah Kish, FBA's vice president of research and workforce development, was appointed to the Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program (TIRAP) Advisory Committee.
Kish’s involvement in the program is billed as the next step in FBA’s efforts to close the existing broadband workforce gap and support the high demand for fiber infrastructure builds across North America.
TIRAP is sponsored by the Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA) and works with other telecommunications companies and industry associations, like FBA, to develop apprenticeship programs that are accredited by the U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) to improve the quality of training and safety of the broadband workforce.
TIRAP Advisory Committee members are instrumental in the development and growth of registered apprenticeships in the broadband industry. Kish will serve on the TIRAP Advisory Committee for a one-year term.
“It is an honor to serve on the TIRAP Advisory Committee. Together we will continue to find ways to move the needle on technical workforce development and shape the apprenticeship model for the future of the broadband industry. Working with initiatives like TIRAP help the fiber broadband industry fill a much-needed pipeline of trained individuals in long-lasting telecom careers. We don’t want to find ourselves as an industry in this position 10 years from now.”
As noted by an FBA press release:
The fiber industry is experiencing its largest investment cycle ever, with $42.25 billion in Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) funding for broadband infrastructure still to come. However, without a stronger workforce of skilled technicians, the fiber broadband industry will not be able to build infrastructure at a pace that can keep up with demand.
FBA developed its Optical Telecom Installer Certification (OpTIC Path) program to train fiber technicians to build fiber broadband infrastructure, and it remains the most comprehensive fiber workforce training program available.
As part of FBA’s broader workforce development initiatives, Kish works closely with community colleges, state broadband offices, state workforce development agencies, state apprenticeship offices, Departments of Labor, veterans’ programs, and at-risk youth programs to educate potential technicians about the benefits of a career in telecom and expand access to training programs.
She also leads FBA’s partnerships with organizations like WIA and TIRAP that advance workforce training for broadband and 5G technicians.
Deb Bennett, vice president of apprenticeship for WIA, concluded:
“TIRAP’s mission is to partner with stakeholders throughout the telecommunications industry to promote safety, enhance quality, and enable education and advancement opportunities in the telecommunications workforce that will meet network infrastructure build-out needs. Our advisory committee is essential in this goal, and we are pleased to welcome Deborah and the other board members to this year’s term. This is an important year for our programs, and we look forward to working with our 2023 Advisory Committee to accomplish new goals.”