YSU, Port Authority Get $1.2 Million for Broadband Initiatives

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Two projects in the Mahoning Valley are among 52 recipients of nearly $47 million in grant monies announced Oct. 13 by the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Youngstown State University has been awarded $1.15 million by the ARC to implement broadband and 5G readiness training across eastern Ohio.

The Western Reserve Port Authority secured $49,970 for the Trumbull County Broadband Engineering study, which will identify routes to supply high-speed broadband to underserved areas.

YSU’s award will allow 165 people in Mahoning, Trumbull, Columbiana, Ashtabula, Jefferson and Belmont counties to earn credentials for careers in broadband and 5G, according to Jennifer Oddo, executive director of the university’s Division of Workforce Education and Innovation. “YSU will provide hybrid training and will implement plug-and-play, non-degree curriculum models to ensure the investment in broadband expansion is backed by a skilled workforce capable of connecting urban and rural areas with this critical utility,” she says.

Among the partners in the project are Wireless Infrastructure Association, Ashtabula County Career and Technical Center, Eastern Gateway Community College, Eastgate Regional Council of Governments, The Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association and four state workforce boards.

Trumbull County’s project will fund a broadband engineering study for a proposed fiber-optic loop designed to provide high-speed broadband service to four underserved communities across the county.

The study will examine alternative broadband deployment routes, including an analysis of existing providers. It will also identify partnerships to deploy broadband services in the coal-impacted region and recommend funding opportunities to leverage public-private investment for the project’s implementation.