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NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association’s Smart Communities program and the National Rural Education Association (NREA) are attempting to promote awareness among K-12 students of possible careers in broadband. To that end, the two groups partnered on a BOLD toolkit unveiled this week.

The Broadband Opportunities and Leadership Development (BOLD) K-12 Career Awareness Toolkit is a 12-page document with a range of resources and best practices to help guide locally operated communications providers generate awareness of and interest in telecom careers.


The toolkit was developed through a collaboration between Joshua Seidemann, NTCA vice president of policy and industry innovation, NREA Executive Director Allen Pratt and Joe Wood, NREA Southwest Tennessee

According to NTCA, the toolkit is the organization’s latest effort to “create a 21st-century workforce in rural America” and help the U.S. “build a better broadband future.”

In addition to the collaboration, NTCA has pursued other recent educational efforts:

  • The association partnered with Northwood Technical College to provide NTCA members with online access to Northwood’s Broadband Academy courses and “Digital Badging” program to give employees professional development opportunities while also enabling companies to establish a pipeline of skilled workers.
  • NTCA partnered with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) to help make apprenticeship and OSHA 10 training programs accessible to NTCA member companies with CWA workforces.

“The need for a skilled workforce to build and maintain broadband networks across rural America is growing as demand and investment in broadband increases,” NTCA CEO Shirley Bloomfield said in a prepared statement about the NTCA BOLD toolkit. “And where better to find future employees than the very students they are serving? Whether it is hosting students at site visits, working with schools to develop curricula, or even sponsoring esports programs, community-based broadband providers continue to find new and creative ways to engage students and get them excited about a career in the broadband industry.”

With the sharp increase in fiber deployments, there is a great need for educational programs about fiber and other telecom technologies.

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