Laid Off Tech Workers May Soon Find Jobs in the Broadband Industries; College Degree Not Necessarily Required
According to recent press reports, about 90,000 people have recently been laid off at some of the biggest tech companies, including Meta, Twitter, Amazon, and Google. The jobs most affected are white-collar workers, primarily in sales and human resources, and these cost-cutting measures will affect new hires the most. While some researchers have argued that large technology companies are simply responding to the end of stay-at-home orders caused by COVID-19 or job losses due to corporate layoffs, very little attention has been paid to growth opportunities in the broadband industry. New job opportunities are being realized there for installing, maintaining and troubleshooting high-speed broadband systems, which received a major boost from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has indicated that it will not take a one-size-fits-all approach as it distributes billions in broadband funding, but instead will work closely with states to meet their individual needs. There will likely be room for new job opportunities among large tech workers, as there is a severe shortage, including computer science and engineer positions. While the IIJA is expected to create new jobs, there could be more work in the broadband sector, especially since many jobs do not require a university degree.
Diversity and Inclusion
Broadband positions can be more inclusive and represent diverse talent, including workers who have historically been marginalized, underpaid, and excluded from the workforce. Perhaps NTIA’s largest initiative is the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program, which provides a total of $2.5 billion to states to finance broadband expansion. Each state is expected to receive an initial allocation of $100 million, with the remainder based on broadband coverage maps still being developed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). To receive BEAD funding, each state must submit a five-year broadband plan detailing how it expects to use the federal money it receives. The Commerce Department believes the broadband funding will create between 100,000 and 200,000 jobs. To fill these vacancies, NTIA allows states to use their BEAD funds for technical training, internships, and recruitment.
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