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WRTP | BIG STEP to develop workforce ahead of $1B broadband investment

By: Ethan Duran//April 10, 2023//

WRTP | BIG STEP to develop workforce ahead of $1B broadband investment

By: Ethan Duran//April 10, 2023//

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Wisconsin Broadband

The Wisconsin Broadband Workforce Coalition (WBWC) announced Monday the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin has selected a coalition to grow a workforce for an incoming federal $1 billion broadband investment for the state.

Josh Morby of JRM Advisers and leadership of WRTP | BIG STEP will develop a workforce ahead of a billion-dollar broadband infrastructure investment for Wisconsin, WBWC officials said.

The billion-dollar state investment comes from the Broadband, Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) Program, which provides more than $42 billion to all 50 states and American territories for high-speed internet access.

The coalition includes leadership from all 11 of Wisconsin’s local workforce development boards, officials said. Together they will put together dozens of state and national partners that include employers, education and training providers and untapped pipelines of talent, officials added.

Morby said the coalition has worked for months to draw attention to how important it is to support efforts for workforce development ahead of broadband infrastructure investments, but the PSC’s latest funding was not enough although it was a step in the right direction.

“We’ve been working on behalf of our members for months to draw attention to the importance of supporting workforce development efforts for the broadband infrastructure investments coming. This initial funding from the PSC is a step in the right direction but ultimately not enough,” Morby said in a statement.

WRTP | BIG STEP President Lindsay Blumer corroborated Morby’s statement and said workforce development funding should show the state’s priority for a once in a generation investment.

“Funding for workforce development efforts that support broadband expansion should reflect the priorities states have in delivering on the federal government’s once in a generation infrastructure investment,” Blumer said in a statement.

Morby said the broadband investment wouldn’t be implemented without a trained workforce.

“We must have a trained workforce to do the work. Without the workers, none of this happens. The success of the entire broadband investment rests on the shoulders of the workforce needed to do the work,” Morby said.

“Supporting workforce development efforts is essential to success. We will continue our efforts to develop state coalitions like the one in Wisconsin to bring employers, training providers and pipelines of talent together to advocate for the importance of workforce development funding and collaboration around broadband expansion efforts,” he added.

The PSC announced in February it received 73 applications for funding to help expand broadband infrastructure across Wisconsin. Gov Tony Evers’ administration’s goal was to connect 390,000 homes and businesses to new or improved high-speed internet, PSC Chairperson Rebecca Cameron Valcq said in a statement.


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