Fiber Broadband Association’s grassroots approach to fixing the fiber workforce shortage

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As an aging workforce and a lack of interest among young people threaten to derail nationwide broadband buildout plans, the industry’s stakeholders must come together to tackle what has become a massive fiber workforce shortage, said Deborah Kish, VP of workforce development at the Fiber Broadband Association (FBA). The Government Accountability Office estimated that around 34,000 workers might be needed in 2023 to support the government’s broadband expansion programs, depending on unpredictable project timelines. And the workforce shortage is a legacy the industry left itself in many ways, Kish said. The FBA is focusing on community colleges, veteran programs, departments of corrections, and at-risk youth programs across the country, as well as working with the service provider community, to set up the training infrastructure and workforce pipeline the industry needs. The FBA issued its own Broadband Workforce Development Guidebook, which gives local stakeholders like state broadband offices direction in setting up their own training programs. The program covers skills including installation, splicing and maintenance of fiber

FBA’s grassroots approach to fixing the fiber workforce shortage