Ohio State selects industry intermediary to help lead Broadband and 5G Sector Partnership

Posted: March 16, 2022

In January, Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted launched an initiative to design curriculum for Ohio’s broadband and 5G workforce strategy in an effort to develop a skilled broadband workforce. The Ohio State University was chosen by the State to house its Broadband and 5G Sector Partnership.

During a recent kickoff meeting, Ohio State College of Engineering leaders announced the competitive selection of the Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA) as the industry intermediary to lead Ohio’s Broadband and 5G Sector Partnership. In this role, WIA will co-lead efforts to design and distribute curriculum and training to address the need for a skilled broadband and 5G workforce.  

WIA member companies are the businesses that develop, build, own and operate the United States’ wireless infrastructure, including wireless carriers, infrastructure providers, and professional services firms that collectively own and operate more than 135,000 telecommunications facilities around the globe. As the industry intermediary, WIA will collaborate with Ohio State to develop a strategic roadmap for broadband and 5G workforce development that aligns with goals of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation (OWT) and the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE). WIA will serve the critical role as liaison between Ohio State and the broadband and 5G industry to understand current skills shortages.  

“We look forward to partnering with WIA and developing a robust and inclusive Sector Partnership that advances Ohio's workforce in this space both broadly and innovatively,” said Anish Arora, chair and professor of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. “Our joint steps over the next couple of years will set the stage for sustained initiatives, from implementing career awareness programs to developing an immediately employable workforce and training the next generation of technical leaders and executives.”

In addition to College of Engineering leaders, the March 11 kickoff meeting included representatives from OWT, ODHE, BroadbandOhio, WIA, Center on Education and Training for Employment, Ohio Education Research Center, and Ohio State regional campuses among others.


“We are excited to take part in this cutting-edge partnership with Ohio State University to help strengthen Ohio’s broadband and 5G workforce,” said WIA EVP Tim House. “WIA’s Telecommunications Education Center is the premier program developing and delivering curriculum and training to prepare the workforce to meet the demand of 5G. I’d like to thank The Ohio State University for the opportunity to support them with our expertise in this critical initiative. I’d also like to thank Lt. Governor Husted for his leadership in building the workforce of the future in Ohio. The investments being made through the Office of Workforce Transformation to build a workforce capable of deploying broadband and next-generation network technology is a model for the nation—and I look forward to seeing it replicated in other states.”

With faster data speeds, increased device density and ultralow latency, 5G is expected to transform how people and machines communicate, how industries do business and enable “smart” and connected communities. According to research from Boston Consulting Group, 5G deployment will contribute $1.4 trillion to $1.7 trillion to U.S. GDP and create 3.8 million to 4.6 million jobs in the next decade, including 107,000 jobs in Ohio.

“The Wireless Infrastructure Association has been a strong partner in our efforts to ensure Ohio has a skilled workforce for deploying critical telecommunications infrastructure,” said Lt. Governor Husted. “Industry input is essential to the Broadband and 5G Sector Partnership as they work to prepare Ohioans for these in-demand jobs.”

The Sector Partnership will address skills gaps in Ohio’s labor market, inclusively engage its presently underserved and unserved populations, and help Ohio become a national leader in broadband expansion and 5G deployment. The primary outcome of the education, training and awareness programs will be a workforce prepared for sector-wide employment and advancement.

Once developed, the curriculum will be available to all higher education institutions in Ohio to implement. The collaborative effort will employ a comprehensive and systematic process consisting of career pathways analysis, geography-based labor supply and demand analysis, skill shed analysis and occupation prioritization to align and develop programs.

Ohio’s Broadband and 5G Sector Partnership is part of a larger effort by OWT and BroadbandOhio to grow the workforce needed to expand broadband access and 5G in Ohio.

The “Strengthening Ohio’s Broadband & 5G Workforce” Strategy can be found on the BroadbandOhio website.