TIA Launches Labor Shortage Initiative Ahead of BEAD Rollout

The new initiative aims to boost broadband workers by at least 200,000

TIA Launches Labor Shortage Initiative Ahead of BEAD Rollout
Photo from USDA

WASHINGTON April 16, 2024—The Telecommunications Industry Association and Fierce Network on Tuesday launched an initiative aimed at tackling labor shortages and expanding broadband access across the country. 

The initiative, called Broadband Nation, aims to help develop a talent pipeline of broadband workers to maintain and improve communications services. The organizations hope that the initiative will “conquer the digital divide across the country.” 

The groups point out that the $42.5 billion Broadband, Equity, Access, and Deployment program might not have enough workers to actually build the proposed broadband infrastructure. The groups predict that an additional 200,000 workers are necessary to execute BEAD’s ambitions. 

“Several major government-funded broadband grant projects, including the $42.5 billion Broadband Equity Access and Deployment program are either already underway or will begin being implemented this year. Facing a workforce gap of over 200,000 qualified employees needed to build, upgrade and maintain communications networks, Broadband Nation is designed to help highlight the broadband technician profession, attracting a new vibrant and diverse generation of recruits to the workforce to fill this void,” the statement reads

Dave Stehlin, CEO of TIA, underlined the need to increase the number of broadband workers. 

“Having a viable workforce to upgrade, build and maintain the communications networks of tomorrow will be key to delivering on the BEAD program’s mission of bringing high speed digital connectivity to all Americans over the next five years," said Stehlin.

He added that that the initiative brings together key stakeholders across government, industry and academia "to help address the critical labor shortage issue and deliver the training and resources needed to ensure our nation’s communications networks are upgraded and built out for all Americans, regardless of where they live.”

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