VSU awarded $3.25M U.S. Department of Labor grant to develop wireless network training

Administered in partnership with wireless association PCIA, the grant will extend through 2018 and is aimed at enabling trainees to receive hands-on technical and safety training at VSU and partner schools.

VSU awarded $3.25M U.S. Department of Labor grant to develop wireless network training
VSU awarded $3.25M U.S. Department of Labor grant to develop wireless network training

PCIA-The Wireless Infrastructure Association has commended the federal Department of Labor (DoL) for awarding Virginia State University (VSU) a $3.25 million grant to help develop a training program for "the wireless workforce of the future," focused on educating veterans, displaced workers, and others for careers in building and maintaining America’s wireless networks. Awarded through DoL’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative, the grant will allow VSU, an historically black university, to strengthen a new program aimed at building a network of colleges to train students for high-wage, high-skilled careers in wireless infrastructure.

“The American educational system has not kept pace with the fast growth of the wireless industry," contends PCIA's president and chief executive officer, Jonathan Adelstein. "This grant is part of our effort to jumpstart the academic community, with VSU in the lead, to develop training programs and curricula that will produce graduates that have the precise preparation we need to meet our burgeoning workforce needs. This will give veterans and displaced workers opportunities to be trained, certified, and employed in wireless infrastructure."

PCIA, which helped VSU develop and submit the grant application to DoL’s Employment and Training Administration, will assist in managing the program under the terms of the grant. As part of the award, DoL approved $750,000 which is specified in the application for PCIA to help create nationally recognized competencies and credentials in the field of wireless infrastructure deployment. The grant will extend through 2018 and is aimed at enabling trainees to receive hands-on technical and safety training at VSU and partner schools. PCIA, which together with its member companies has partnered with the Departments of Labor and Veterans Affairs to support the veterans job training program known as Warriors4Wireless, has been working in close concert with VSU to shape and launch the program.

PCIA's Adelstein adds, “Right now, there are thousands of high-skilled, high-wage American jobs that are hard for our members to fill because workers haven’t received proper training. PCIA will help professionalize the wireless workforce with direct input from the industry to target our needs with a state-of-the-art program. We need to develop a workforce that can safely and properly install and maintain wireless networks that can meet the growing demands of consumers, businesses, schools, health care, governments, public safety agencies, and countless others to enjoy the life-changing benefits of wireless broadband."

The VSU program offers workers training and certification and a pathway toward competitive compensation, generous benefits, a positive work environment, and career advancement opportunities. It offers a college-accredited course for wireless facility technicians, a program that PCIA hopes to replicate through a network of community colleges and four-year institutions across the country, Adelstein noted.

“The private and public sectors need to continue working together to give our trainees life-changing opportunities that challenges their abilities, seeks to transfer their skills to wireless infrastructure, and rewards their contributions in an atmosphere that encourages personal and professional growth,” concludes Warriors4Wireless President Kelley Dunne. “That’s the mission of the VSU program and why the Department of Labor would like to see it expanded.”

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