The Ohio State University recently hosted a meeting of the Ohio Broadband & 5G Sector Partnership, an organization devoted to expanding online access and opportunities for Ohioans. The Ohio State News described the meeting as a discussion hub for industry, community and university leaders focused on facilitating digital growth within the state.
“We know right now that post-COVID, employers and people everywhere are expecting flexibility to work from home, work from anywhere,” said University President, Kristina M. Johnson. “And if we don’t have that linkage, whether it’s in our rural communities or in our urban communities, we’re missing out on talent and jobs are going to go to the best talent and the best-educated workforce.”
“We’re trying to make sure everybody in Ohio can participate in the modern economy, education and health care system by having access to high-speed internet and the latest technologies,” agreed Lt. Gov. Jon Husted. “That will enable them to do the great kinds of things that are happening here at The Ohio State University and in our education and private sector institutions around the state.”
Husted then announced a third round of Individualized Microcredential Assistance Program (IMAP) funding for qualified individuals, according to The Ohio State News. The program’s goal is to provide broadband and 5G-focused training to low income, partially unemployed or totally unemployed applicants. The tech skills training is provided at no cost to participants who will earn credentials needed to start working in various capacities in the telecommunications industry. Avenues of study include fiber optics, telecommunications tower technicians, 5G readiness and more.
The university has said it is allotting $3 million to help the Partnership design the program to get Ohioans trained and employed. The curriculum developed by the university will be made available to other institutions within the state. IMAP funding is also available to other institutions ready to launch relevant training programs within the next six months.
Chief program designer, Professor Anish Arora, chair of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, said, “As 5G deployment takes root in Ohio, Ohio State’s strategic priority for leading efforts in next generation communications enables an excellent alignment with the state’s goals for workforce development in this space. Through the efforts of our newly launched 5G-OH Connectivity Center, we will develop and disseminate an innovative curriculum in coordination with the sector partners.”