YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Ohio’s Lieutenant Governor made a stop on Youngstown Monday to talk about an initiative to grow broadband and 5G jobs.
Husted announced the launch of the Broadband and 5G Sector Partnership Grant application, as well as the launch of 5G Readiness Programs at Youngstown State University and Ashland University.
Husted said the programs will prepare students for jobs. Both YSU and Ashland were chosen because there will be a need in both communities. He said nearly 107,000 jobs could be created.
“We know with this training, with these partnerships, we are going to flip the future for many people in terms of giving them skills that they need for the jobs that are going to be created over the next 10 years in this economy,” he said.
The Wireless Infrastructure Association is partnering with both universities to prepare the curriculum for the training program.
“We will be bringing in hands-on activities. We are going to create a lab as well at both the schools. Ultimately, we are going to take students to live-cell site, a 5G cell site, where they can actually see how all these things actually come together,” said Rikin Thakker, a spokesperson with the Wireless Infrastructure Association.
Husted said they are also in the process of doing a grant program for the expansion of broadband. Over $250M will be deployed across the state for the hardest to reach communities, but that can’t be done without a workforce, which is why they’re implementing the industry sector partnership grants and education programs
According to state officials in Strengthening Ohio’s Broadband and 5G Workforce, even prior to the COVID-19 health crisis, Ohio had significant gaps in broadband coverage.
The issues created by this gap became more evident at the start of the pandemic when millions of Ohioans had to stay home to work and learn remotely.