The Biden Administration has released a new Workforce Planning Guide for states and territories to use when planning high-speed Internet deployment projects.
The framework, put together by the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), will both serve as a resource and offer strategies to develop a highly trained, diverse workforce that can work to connect everyone in America to high-speed Internet.
NTIA noted in a press release that the high-speed Internet deployment and digital equity projects funded through the Internet for All initiative will create over 150,000 of “good-paying” jobs.
“Women are underrepresented in telecommunications jobs. The Internet for All initiative can change this. We have an opportunity to diversify our workforce so it looks like America,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “These good jobs are the foundation of an equitable economy that lifts up workers and families and makes businesses more competitive globally.”
NTIA further explained that the Internet for All initiative’s Broadband, Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program contains workforce requirements that grant recipients and subgrantees must meet when implementing their projects. The newly released framework is part of NTIA’s obligation to provide technical assistance materials those entities need to meet the workforce requirements and promote a skilled workforce. Additionally, NTIA said the guide may be helpful for entities participating in other Internet for All programs like the Digital Equity Planning Grant program and the Middle Mile program.
“By intentionally planning for how BEAD funds will impact the workforce, eligible entities can develop and support a skilled, diverse, equitable, and inclusive American workforce,” Raimondo said.
In the 54-page planning guide, NTIA covers the necessary components of a workforce plan, strategies and planning steps on how to complete grant submissions, a range of approaches to help states meet the workforce needs, and information on existing programs at the Federal, state, and local level. The guide also includes checklists to help eligible entities ensure that their workforce plan and grant submissions meet BEAD program requirements.
Alongside the Workforce Planning Guide, NTIA is providing technical assistance to states and grantees on workforce requirements through public, open webinars and one-on-one meetings.