The Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program (“TIRAP”) is a joint venture of telecommunications companies, industry associations and the U.S. Department of Labor that develops credentialed apprenticeship programs available to qualified employers for career development of the telecommunications workforce.The TIRAP’s mission is to partner with stakeholders to promote safety, enhance quality, and enable education and advancement opportunities in the telecommunications workforce that will meet network infrastructure build out needs.
In February 2020, the Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA), the National Sponsor of TIRAP, was awarded a $5,997,096 grant under the Department of Labor’s “Apprenticeship: Closing the Skills Gap” program.In partnership with the Power & Communication Contractors Association (PCCA), the grant will be used to train a 5G workforce. Five institutions of higher education have already committed as technical partner schools.
The nearly $6 million grant is supplemented by over $9 million in matching support from industry, including cash and in-kind contributions from WIA, PCCA, Ditch Witch, FS3, and participating employers, for a total commitment to apprenticeship of $15 million in a public-private partnership.The grant will provide the necessary funding to design curricula and deliver training to develop qualified applicants for placement in middle- to high-skilled jobs nationwide that will accelerate 5G deployment for America’s 5G Apprenticeship Initiative.America’s 5G Apprenticeship Initiative will engage a consortium of public and private partners with 33 small and mid-sized employers committing to create over 5,500 new apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships in this rapidly evolving sector. These industry-driven, competency-based apprenticeships will target veterans; transitioning service members; military spouses; women; people of color; unemployed, underemployed, and incumbent workers; and other underrepresented populations.
In September 2020, ETA awarded a major contract to the Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA) perform as the 5G Industry Intermediary to develop the wireless workforce. The objective of the funding is to expand the industry’s multi-employer apprenticeship model to meet employers’ occupational and skills development needs. The contract will enable WIA to assist employers in developing over 600 apprentices in the next year with multi-year options to renew thereafter. It also provides $400,000 per year in incentive funds for employers that adopt registered apprenticeship and serve under-represented populations.
Continuing updates on workforce development in the
telecommunications and communications sector can be found on www.apprenticeship.gov, https://www.tirap.org; and https://wia.org