TIRAP on pace to achieve 1,000 registered apprentices, finalized new occupations

In Featured News, Training News & Initiatives by Wireless Estimator

The Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program (TIRAP) announced that the Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA), which serves as the National Sponsor for the program, is on pace to sign up a total of 1,000 registered apprentices through participating companies.

“This is exciting because the employers are not only utilizing the existing program but supporting the creation of new occupations and endorsements through the investment of their time, treasure and talent,” said TIRAP Board Chairman Scott Kisting, Executive Vice President Proactive Telecommunications Solutions, LLC. “WIA in its role as national sponsor continues to facilitate for these employers and currently working with the TIRAP board working with DOL to advance and clarify the pathway for apprenticeship in the telecommunications industry.”

TIRAP also announced that the program has developed two additional occupations to meet industry demand. TIRAP is a joint venture of telecommunications companies, industry associations and the U.S. Department of Labor that develops DOL-credentialed apprenticeship programs available to qualified employers for career development of the telecommunications workforce, focused on ensuring quality, enabling efficiency, while ensuring a safe working environment.

The new occupations are:

  • Maintenance and Condition Assessment Lead
  • Maintenance and Condition Assessment Foreman

“These new occupations and endorsements are especially exciting because for the first time in the registered apprenticeship process the government has taken input directly from the industry to ensure consistency in the requirements for these new occupations and endorsements,” said Kisting. “TIRAP appreciates the tremendous amount of support and guidance provided by DOL as we navigate through this rapid expansion of the program and the development of worker career paths. We will continue to communicate the requirements for occupations and endorsements to enable the industry to achieve a uniform set of skills. A common set of skills allows for employers to secure training designed to assist in the development of a quality, safe and efficient workforce.”

TIRAP gathered industry experts from around the country for a two-day meeting at the headquarters of Vertical Limit, which is a proud employer in the program, to finalize the above positions as well as work on other endorsements and occupations including Rigger 1, Rigger 2, Fiber Optic Technician, and Site Vegetation and Environmental Technician.

Updates were also provided to TIRAP from officials with USA Telecom Insurance Services (USATIS), which serves as the National Marketing Partner for Apprenticeship Outreach for TIRAP. USATIS is currently engaged with 50 employers who are looking for education and support. USATIS also has worked with insurers to educate them on the importance of structure training in safety. This outreach has led to a 30 percent reduction in the minimums from one national insurance carrier and ongoing communications with additional insurers to help them see the benefits to employees, employers and the industry.

TIRAP also reported that the group continues to work closely with Warriors4Wireless, which was established to support the men and women who have served the country. TIRAP and Warriors4Wireless work with the employers and the military to find placement for veterans. This has improved the placement rate through the guidance of the W4W team in the utilization of TIRAP to provide a structured career placement program.

Members of TIRAP’s Executive Board include Scott Kisting, Executive Vice President of Proactive Telecommunications Solutions, LLC; Art Pregler, Director of National Mobility Systems for AT&T; Beau Aero, President and Founder of GME Supply; Joel Hightower, Owner of Hightower Communications; David Sams, Vice President of Risk Management of SBA Network Services, Inc.; James Walker Pontius,  Director of Network Operations for US Cellular; Jonathan Adelstein, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Wireless Infrastructure Association; Laurie Gebhardt, HQ Director of Network Engineering & Operations Support for Verizon Wireless; Kelley Dunne, President and Co-Founder of Warriors 4 Wireless;  Paul Roberts, Vice President of Compliance for American Tower Corp.; and Richard Cullum, Program Manager – Special Projects of Crown Castle.  With support from Stephanie Brewer, Compliance Coordinator for MUTI-Sabre Industries and Deb Bennett, Apprenticeship Director for WIA.

WIA represents the businesses that develop, build, own and operate the nation’s wireless infrastructure. Members include wireless carriers, infrastructure providers, and professional services firms that collectively own and operate telecommunications facilities around the globe. WIA supports its diverse members and the entire wireless industry through advocacy, communications, events, and education.

Companies or organizations interested in learning more about the services provided by TIRAP can contact Bruce Eades from USATIS at 678.923.3336 or bruce.eades@usatelecomins.com.