Thousands of jobs coming to Ohio through broadband expansion

Thousands of jobs coming to Ohio through broadband expansion
Published: Jun. 10, 2022 at 7:18 PM EDT
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CHESAPEAKE, Ohio (WSAZ) - Broadband expansion upgrades are coming to improve strength and connectivity in Ohio.

The state plans to bring thousands of jobs to Ohio to help grow the workforce to build the infrastructure.

Melissa Goodwin, owner of Ohio Valley Outlet, said she relies on a strong and reliable internet connection to keep things running smoothly.

“I rely on it 24/7. I’m on a computer most of the day because I do a lot of sales online, EBAY, and customer questions. I’m on the internet all day long,” Goodwin said.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced a broadband and 5G-focused Individualized Microcredential Assistance Program (IMAP) round. This is the third round of the initiative, which helps those who are low income, partially unemployed, or totally unemployed participate in a training program and receive a technology-focused credential at no cost. The goal is to grow the workforce to build the broadband infrastructure in Ohio.

Eligible credentials include Fiber Optics, Telecommunications Tower Technician, Fiber to Any Antenna (FTAA), and the 5G Readiness program.

“We are working to ensure that everyone can participate in the modern economy, education and health care system through broadband access, and to do that, the infrastructure has to be built from the ground up by skilled workers,” Husted said. “These short-term credentials can be earned quickly and will provide excellent employment opportunities for Ohioans to make an average of $50,000 per year or more.”

“As we expand our broadband and 5G footprint across Ohio, we will need the workers who can make that happen,” said Lydia Mihalik, director of the Ohio Department of Development, which administers the program. “The focus of this IMAP round will help more Ohioans enter the workforce of the future and put them on the path for success.”

Husted also announced Friday that four schools in Southeast Ohio will partner to offer a Certified Fiber Optic Technician program.

Washington County Career Center, Mid-East Career & Technology Centers, Belmont-Harrison Career Centers, and Noble Local School District worked with local industry partners to secure a donated mobile trailer that will be shared among the institutions. The schools will set a schedule for each institution to offer the program for six to eight-week intervals, and then the mobile trailer will move to the next institution for another cohort.

The IMAP application period for training providers runs through June 27.

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