Two leading wireless industry organizations that are separate in their structure, one an apprenticeship training program, the other an accreditation organization, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will allow them to work together toward the goal of developing one aligned body of knowledge with common job position titling based on input and coordination between both groups.
The Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program (TIRAP) and the National Wireless Safety Alliance (NWSA) share the strategic objective of promoting skills development for telecommunications tower workers.
“There is a natural synergy in the communication, coordination, and sharing of technical information between NWSA and TIRAP to ensure job position descriptions and requirements are consistent among the same positions,” reads the MOU that can be viewed below.
TIRAP was established in 2014 as a public-private partnership between leading wireless infrastructure companies, industry associations, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The mission of the consortium is to develop apprenticeship programs and improve workplace quality, safety, address industry workforce needs, and provide workers with greater employment and advancement opportunities.
The NWSA is a 501 (c)6 non-profit organization created to provide national, ANSI accredited, assessments of knowledge and skills. This in turn will provide verifiable worker certification in order to enhance safety, reduce workplace risk, improve quality, encourage training, and recognize the skilled professionals who work on towers and other nonstandard structures. The assessments will serve to validate the training of communication tower workers regardless of their chosen training pathway.
Scott Kisting, Senior Vice President at Sabre/MUTI Tower Service Co. and Chairman of the TIRAP Board of Directors, said the MOU ensures that the vital work being done by TIRAP and NWSA will complement and enhance each other and provide greater benefit to workers, employers and the industry and the communities they serve.
Kisting stated, “It is my hope that our industry will use this as a means to recognize the efforts of so many to pass knowledge of the standards and the safety requirements on to our new and existing workers. Through consistency, we will help ensure that safe and quality installs are improved on each site by working with NWSA to allow for a uniform titling of positions.”
Jim Tracy, CEO of Legacy Telecommunications Inc. and chairman of the NWSA Board of Directors said, “The NWSA looks forward to working together towards a single uniform set of standards that support industry wide efforts including the validation of all worker training by a nationally available and accredited practical assessment.”
Memorandum of Understanding between National Wireless Safety Alliance and Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program
The Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program (TIRAP) and the National Wireless Safety Alliance (NWSA) share a strategic objective of promoting skills development for telecommunications tower workers. Two goals each organization shares are the establishment of a framework of job task requirements that ensures safe and quality work is performed in accordance with recognized standards, and the development of a systematic approach to provide certification of workers in positions reflecting their specific job skills.
The NWSA is a 501(c)(6) organization established to provide thorough testing and practical assessments. NWSA is seeking to develop an accreditation program under the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) 17024 certification of persons. The testing and assessment will be available to any individual without regard to their chosen training pathway.
TIRAP is a joint venture comprised of industry representatives and the US Department of Labor (DOL). TIRAP and the DOL partner together to develop a DOL approved apprenticeship modeled certification methodology for telecommunications workers. This program will be available to all employers providing services on the telecommunications sites.
There is a natural synergy in the communication, coordination, and sharing of technical information between NWSA and TIRAP to ensure job position descriptions and requirements are consistent among the same positions. Both organizations fully recognize the sensitivity of information directly associated with the NWSA certification development process, and as such, clearly have no need or desire to share any confidential information associated with the NWSA.
The TIRAP apprenticeship model is based on long-standing Department of Labor (DOL) apprenticeship programs created to provide a low cost/no cost model for employers to secure training or internally train their employees to a pre-specified set of knowledge and practical skills criteria developed by TIRAP or an individual employer’s standards. In the Apprenticeship model, training criteria is recommended to DOL by TIRAP as the basis for approval of an DOL registered apprenticeship position. Employees are certified by DOL upon demonstrated completion of the registered apprenticeship position criteria. Upon demonstration of successful achievement of the knowledge and tactile performance criteria, the employee receives DOL certification in the position and is able to provide such evidence to employers and customers.
In the NWSA model and upon successful completion of the NWSA knowledge test and NWSA practical assessment, the employee receives NWSA certification in the position and is able to provide credentials to employers, customers, and asset owners.
Customers consisting primarily of carriers, for work on their assets; and antenna structure owners, for work on their owned or managed assets; and other co-locators, may require certification from one certification body or the other or both depending on the individual decision of the asset owner/manager.
The industry has voiced a desire to see the most efficient outcome of both TIRAP and NWSA initiatives or a future evolving integration of these efforts, and, as such, both TIRAP and NWSA agree to take all actions feasible to coordinate non-restricted information and work closely together for integrated and consistent application of position development and certification. It is critical in the achievement of this goal, and at this stage of development, that there is consistency regarding the titling of positions to ensure our two groups work together to achieve industry objectives.
TIRAP and NWSA agree to work together toward the goal of developing one aligned body of knowledge with common titling based on input and coordination between both groups. Any updates to the body of knowledge will be communicated and timely agreed upon by the leadership of each group as any new changes are submitted. It is the expressed intent of NWSA and TIRAP to uplift and support the communications of existing nationally accepted standards and best practices. These entities will endeavor to avoid confusion with existing standards and will show deference to preeminent standards bodies.
In addition, both parties agree that an ongoing dialogue will continue to rapidly deploy solutions for our industry using the skills and talents of all involved in this valuable effort.
Chairman, Board of Directors
National Wireless Safety Alliance
Chairman, Executive Board
Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program