GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) – Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr was in South Mississippi Thursday, working with state community college leaders and Southern District PSC Commissioner Dane Maxwell on creating more internet-broadband based jobs for that expanding industry.
“How do we have the workforce in place to build out the next generation of internet infrastructure which is 5G which is the fastest newest service?” Carr said. “Right now, we can almost double the amount of tower tech workers. We can hire 20,000 almost overnight.”
The current pool is 27,000 tower technicians and other broadband/internet based employees. He and others would like to expand that workforce through Mississippi’s community college system.
“We came up with an idea because we have such good community colleges, so we put them together and put everybody together and build a curriculum,” Maxwell said. “Build an apprentice program and get them trained and get them out.”
When they are out, they go to businesses like Millerco, a company based here in South Mississippi that has nine locations in four states.
“People don’t realize it takes a lot to make your cell phone work. It’s not magic and it’s not pixie dust. It’s hard, tough, dangerous work that these tower techs are doing and nationwide we’re looking at needing to fill about 20,000 positions,” said Jordyn Ladner, Millerco operations manager.
Carr and others also toured MGCCC’s Harrison County Campus and other areas of the Coast.
“We need to make sure that every community in this country has a fair shot and next gen internet,” Carr added. “It’s so critical whether it’s for distance learning, telehealth, or working remotely.”