Ohio’s commitment to expanding its broadband and 5G workforce is getting a major boost with the announcement of a $12 million grant from the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation. The grant will help fund two new programs that support the Ohio Broadband & 5G Sector Partnership, which was created in response to the state’s Strengthening Ohio’s Broadband & 5G Workforce Strategy.
The grant includes $3 million from the Good Jobs Challenge, which will cover operating costs for the Sector Partnership in 2024. An additional $300,000 has been allocated for equipment purchases across the state to support new programs.
U.S. Department of Labor QUEST funding will provide another $9 million to create regional nodes—or “hubs”—across JobsOhio’s six-region map that can offer resources to local communities and build out the talent pipeline necessary for businesses in these areas. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services will post a competitive request for proposals on March 1st to select lead entities for these regions.
In announcing this news, Lt Gov Jon Husted said “Having a skilled telecommunications workforce is essential to our administration’s support of broadband expansion and deploying 5G…I look forward to seeing the work of the Sector Partnership continue and having local regions become leaders in the development of a skilled telecommunications workforce in Ohio.”
Since 2021, eleven new programs have been established at career centers and universities across Ohio that prepare participants for jobs in telecoms industries such as broadband and 5G deployment, with even more expected thanks to this new funding injection. WIA CTO Rikin Thakker added: “This additional funding will be crucial for advancing regional training programs that will strengthen Ohio’s broadband workforce and make it a national leader in broadband and 5G deployment.”