Infrastructure Act Will Grow High Quality Jobs in Telecommunication
A little over a year ago, the President signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, which provides a once-in-a-generation investment in our nation’s infrastructure and competitiveness. This law invests more than $60 billion to ensure that every American has access to reliable, high-speed Internet. Meanwhile, the CHIPS and Science Act was passed, which also strengthens telecommunications supply chains and invests $1.5 billion to facilitate the development of open radio access networks and invests in science, technology, education, and mathematics (STEM) workforce development.
The telecommunications industry provides critical communication tools across the country, which is why these investments are so important to ensure access to the families who need them most. But the infrastructure bill will also bring significant job growth in telecommunications installation, maintenance, software development, cybersecurity, hardware security and other fields. This higher demand helps increase the value and compensation of such jobs, making them much more appealing to job candidates.
Investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act provide an opportunity to create excellent jobs that attract workers from across the country, including underserved communities that suffer from persistent poverty, discrimination, or inequality, including Black, Native Americans, People of Color; LGBTQI people, immigrants, veterans; people with disabilities, individuals from rural communities, and individuals with or recovering from a substance use disorder.
The Department of Labor and the FCC recently issued guidance to state and local labor councils, OSHA-approved state plans, state broadband organizations, state service commissions, and governors’ offices to help create higher-paying jobs. Creating these higher-quality jobs is a key strategy for recruitment, hiring, upskilling and retention, especially in a competitive labor market. Quality jobs are the foundation of a fair economy, lifting workers and families up and making businesses more competitive globally. Most employers understand that providing higher-quality jobs creates a distinct advantage in recruiting and retaining employees in terms of competitiveness.
Government agencies will be working with telecommunication employers and unions to improve the quality of their workplaces and then publicize those efforts, which will create a broader awareness to job applicants. Federal agencies have already adopted strict labor and equity standards for telecommunications workforce subsidies, in part to promote the efficient and effective completion of quality broadband infrastructure projects, ensuring a reliable supply of skilled and diverse workers, and minimizing disruptive costs. The Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration released a 2022 Notice of Funding Opportunities that requires grantees to ensure the implementation of occupational safety and health commissions and to prioritize projects based on proven federal work practices and compliance plans. Effective plans use tools such as Registered Practice, Project Labor Agreements, Local Lease Agreements, Union Neutrality Bonds and Collective Bargaining to ensure compliance. State and local workforce development can help meet the workforce needs of the telecommunications industry now and in the future by promoting job quality and fair employment and participating in industry strategies with educational organizations.
Local labor boards are encouraged to work with the telecommunications industry and unions as they administer workforce development programs funded by the Department of Labor that support recruitment, training, and internships in the telecommunications industry and include specific strategies for training new employees to meet the evolving workforce needs of this industry. Registered apprenticeship programs, often sponsored by labor management partnerships, can develop and expand new apprenticeship programs across the industry. Apprenticeship programs can promote and improve recruitment and be an effective strategy to promote equality by helping people develop skills and gain pre-qualifications through training and work-based learning.
Here at 360 Talent Avenue, we are already seeing more interest in hiring telecommunications workers. If you are getting ready to ramp up talent acquisition in that area, 360 Talent Avenue can support you through the process from start to finish or simply provide expert guidance on a project basis. Contact us now to get started.
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