Exclusive Coverage at South Wireless Summit
NATE, The Communications Infrastructure Contractor Association, has invested heavily in a tower technician curriculum that can be packaged for use by community colleges and technical schools. And that investment is about to pay off, NATE President/CEO Todd Schlekeway told the audience at the South Wireless Summit this week in Nashville.
Later this spring, in May, three programs will begin that use NATE’s tower technician training curriculum: Vanguard-Sentinel Career & Tech Center, Fremont, OH; North Central State College, Mansfield, OH; and Hocking College, Nelsonville, OH.
“We are using Ohio as a case study of what we’d like to see happen at scale nationally,” Schlekeway said.
The curriculum to be used in Ohio was developed by a team of subject matter experts over the last 10 months. NATE just finalized a seven course turnkey curriculum, which colleges can choose for credit or non-credit programs. The curriculum includes: Introduction to Telecommunications; Telecom Industry Safety & Best Practices (Part 1); Wireless Industry Standards and Best Practices (Part 2); Telecom Installation & Maintenance; Telecom Antennas & Lines; Telecom Structure, Construction, Modification, and Maintenance; and NWSA TTTI Exam Preparation.
“Another benefit of the way we’ve designed this program is all of these foundational certifications [First Aid/CPR, OSHA 10, Air & Bloodborne Pathogens, Fall Protection, Telecom Rigging, and RF/EME] are embedded in the program,” Schlekeway said. “So if you take those seven courses, you’re also going to pick up all of these certifications.”
Schlekeway said the reason the certifications are important is that they make a worker “job-ready” saving potential employers money on training.
The State of Ohio’s Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation, led by Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted, has invested heavily in wireless and broadband and identified it early on as important for the state’s economic development, according to Schlekeway.
“This is significant because there’s really money behind it,” he said. “The state is using repurposed federal money, workforce innovation funds, and then some state money to get these programs off the ground,” Schlekeway said. “These programs are going to have equipment that they’ve already gone to the procurement process and paid for by these funds.”
The programs are important, according to Schlekeway, because they will fill the immediate needs of contractors for frontline field-based workers. “We’re going to see dividends really quickly because a lot of these programs are going to be structured as 12 week programs. Graduates can either apply the credit to an associate’s degree or they can go right into the workforce after 12 weeks,” he said.
NATE is talking to schools throughout the U.S. about adopting the Tower Technician Training curriculum, including the Colorado Community College System, Cloud County Community College in Kansas, and the Queensboro Community College in New York.
“It’s exciting because for the first time we really have a lot of momentum,” Schlekeway said. “We’re going to be able to scale more now because we have a curriculum that we can market to these schools. So we’re making good progress.”
By J. Sharpe Smith, Inside Towers Technology Editor
The post Ohio Tower Technician Training Programs Set to Take Off in May appeared first on Inside Towers.