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The Fiber Broadband Association Expands State Broadband Resources with Workforce Development Guidebook

The Fiber Broadband Association Expands State Broadband Resources with Workforce Development Guidebook

Latest resource helps states build Five-Year Action Plan and address critical workforce development requirements

WASHINGTON, D.C.—(May 11, 2023)—The Fiber Broadband Association (FBA) today published its Workforce Development Guidebook—a comprehensive resource for state broadband offices (SBOs), state and local workforce/economic development boards, and other equivalent agencies as they formulate their workforce development strategy for the NTIA’s $42.45B Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program.

The sudden and historic influx of public funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and BEAD Program will spur an unprecedented amount of construction activity and create a nationwide demand for skilled labor far beyond what the current workforce can support. FBA’s Workforce Development Guidebook notes that, according to the government’s calculations, 150,000 telecom jobs will be created by BEAD, while research by the Fiber Broadband Association estimates the industry will need over 205,000 new jobs in the next five years to construct, operate, and maintain these new networks in every state.

In anticipation of labor shortages, NTIA included workforce planning requirements in its Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), forcing states to consider on the front end how to ensure enough high-skilled workers are available to deliver funded projects. NTIA outlines key components of a workforce plan that states must consider and respond to in their Five-Year Action Plans, including training and workforce development activities, skilled workforce activities, labor and employment laws, and contracting requirements. While those components are instrumental to creating a prosperous workforce ecosystem, FBA’s Workforce Development Guidebook primarily focuses on training and upskilling activities. It provides context on the telecommunications landscape, broadband workforce development, and practical guidance on how to craft and deploy an effective workforce development strategy.

“Beyond safeguarding the delivery of broadband to the millions of Americans that are currently without access, broadband workforce development goes to the heart of the IIJA – creating quality jobs for U.S. workers in local communities across the nation,” said Gary Bolton, President and CEO of the Fiber Broadband Association. “There is a lot of focus placed on building broadband networks, but we cannot build them without a proper workforce. Failure to ensure the availability of high-skilled labor will result in workforce bottlenecks, which will ultimately lead to higher costs and project delays.”

“The importance of BEAD and complexity of issues facing the broadband industry cannot be left to chance. Our Workforce Development Guide provides a formula that state broadband offices can follow to guarantee their Five-Year Action Plans address workforce development alongside planned miles and materials so they can successfully administer BEAD deployment programs,” said Deborah Kish, Vice President of Research and Workforce Development at the Fiber Broadband Association. “Due to the scale and complexity of BEAD, even states with experience deploying broadband programs will encounter new challenges in planning for BEAD. This Guidebook will enable them to build a comprehensive approach with a state workforce development strategy that invests in skills and training and ensures success for individuals and for service providers.”

The Fiber Broadband Association will present highlights from the Workforce Development Guidebook in a webinar on May 18, 2023, at 1:00 pm EDT. Registration information can be found here.


About the Fiber Broadband Association

The Fiber Broadband Association is the largest and only trade association that represents the complete fiber ecosystem of service providers, manufacturers, industry experts, and deployment specialists dedicated to the advancement of fiber broadband deployment and the pursuit of a world where communications are limitless, advancing quality of life and digital equity anywhere and everywhere. The Fiber Broadband Association helps providers, communities, and policy makers make informed decisions about how, where, and why to build better fiber broadband networks. Since 2001, these companies, organizations, and members have worked with communities and consumers in mind to build the critical infrastructure that provides the economic and societal benefits that only fiber can deliver. The Fiber Broadband Association is part of the Fibre Council Global Alliance, which is a platform of six global FTTH Councils in North America, LATAM, Europe, MEA, APAC, and South Africa. Learn more at

Press Contact:
Ashley Schulte
Connect2 Communications for the Fiber Broadband Association