By: Michelle Fauver | Web Posted: 01/14/22 4:57pm
(RALEIGH, N.C.) January 14, 2022 – Wake Tech President Dr. Scott Ralls has been appointed to a federal telecommunications cross-agency working group that will collaborate to identify the current and future needs of the telecommunications industry workforce.
The Federal Communications Commission alongside the Department of Labor, Department of Education, and NTIA announced the members today.
Dr. Ralls was appointed as a higher education representative to the task force by U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. Wake Tech was one of the first institutions in the U.S. to launch an apprenticeship program to train telecommunications tower technicians.
In accordance with the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act, FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel appointed five members, Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh appointed four members, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona appointed two members, and Evelyn Remaley, performing the non-exclusive functions and duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information, appointed one member to the new interagency working group.
“A big part of ensuring modern communications reaches everyone, everywhere is also making sure that we’re properly investing in the workforce to support that mission,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “I look forward to this working group’s recommendations to ensure that all parts of the workforce—from the next generation of innovators reimagining what it means to stay connected in today’s digital age to the tower climbers maintaining the necessary physical infrastructure—are accounted for, properly invested in, and safe. Broadband for all should serve all of us.”
“As our nation builds out and expands access to critical communication tools for people across the country, it is imperative that we not lose sight of the workers carrying out this noble mission,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. “We hope that the Task Force strongly considers how improved job quality and equity can enhance recruitment in workforce development programs in this industry. The members we have appointed for this group includes people who will be laser focused on ensuring good jobs that are safe for those who working to bring the vision of a more connected society into reality.”
“The Department is strongly committed to ensuring that all Americans equally can access the benefits of broadband and digital technology for learning, career and technical preparation, and professional advancement,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “Ensuring that our schools and institutions of higher education are core partners in developing the telecommunications workforce of tomorrow will be critical to reaching 100 percent nationwide broadband coverage.”
“Bringing broadband to every corner of the United States means we need telecom workers with the skills to install networks in challenging areas,” said Evelyn Remaley, who is performing the non-exclusive functions and duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information. “Today’s announcement and our collaboration across the Biden Administration are helping to ensure we have the workforce we need to safely bring connectivity to all.”
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act directed the FCC Chair to work in partnership with the Secretary of Labor to establish an interagency working group that will ultimately prepare a report to Congress on its recommendations to address the needs of the telecommunications industry, including the safety of its workforce. This report must be delivered to Congress by January 14, 2023.
The Public Notice detailing the focus of the Telecommunications Workforce Working Group and the members appointed to the Working Group can be found at: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-22-46A1.pdf