Update: YSU to Help Expand Ohio’s Broadband and 5G Strategy

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Youngstown State University will lead one of six regional hubs across the state to help expand the efforts of Ohio’s Broadband and 5G Sector Partnership.

As part of the implementation of Ohio’s Broadband and 5G Workforce Strategy, hubs will be placed across JobsOhio’s six-region map and will provide resources to local communities so they can create the talent pipeline needed for local businesses.

“In today’s economy and workforce, all Ohioans need access to high-speed internet,” said Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, who serves as director of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation. “Establishing these regional hubs will regionalize the work of our statewide Broadband and 5G Sector Partnership, empowering local communities to help build the broadband and 5G workforce Ohio needs.”

Here are the regional hubs and entities involved:

  • Northeast​ – Team NEO JobsOhio Region: YSU​; Cuyahoga Community College; Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Workforce Development Board; and Community Action Akron Summit​.
  • Central​ – One Columbus JobsOhio Region: The Ohio State University​; Columbus State Community College​; Workforce Development Board of Central Ohio​; and IMPACT Community Action​.
  • Southeast​ – Ohio Southeast JobsOhio Region: Ohio University​; Hocking College​; Area 14 Workforce Development Board; and Community Action Organization of Scioto County Inc.​​
  • Northwest​ – Regional Growth Partnership JobsOhio Region: University of Findlay​; Terra State Community College​; Greater Ohio Workforce Board Inc.​; and Great Lakes Community Action Partnership.
  • West​ – Dayton Development Coalition JobsOhio Region: University of Dayton​; Sinclair Community College​; Greater Ohio Workforce Board Inc.; and Miami Valley Community Action Partnership.
  • Southwest​ – REDI Cincinnati JobsOhio Region: Miami University​; Cincinnati State Technical & Community College​; Workforce Council of Southwest Ohio; and Community Action Agency Cincinnati-Hamilton County​.

“YSU is thrilled to lead the Northeast Ohio Broadband and 5G Node with an impressive consortium of partners, and we look forward to growing 5G and broadband training and access to these high-demand jobs across our 18-county region,” said Lindsey Ekstrand, director of YSU’s IT Workforce Accelerator. 

“Our collective goal is to promote and provide technical training and career readiness for individuals to thrive in fast growing occupations like cell tower, fiber optics and broadband technicians, 5G engineers and support roles like sales and customer service,” she added.

The regional node will bring together industry, academia and workforce organizations across the region to help minimally serve 100 newly trained students and 25 regional employers.

“The state’s playbook on workforce development has been a key to helping the workforce ecosystem assemble partners, programs and strategies to quickly address industry needs in new ways,” Jennifer Oddo, vice president of YSU’s division of workforce education and innovation, said. 

Husted in January announced $9 million in QUEST funding from the U.S. Department of Labor that was budgeted to establish the regional hubs, also known as nodes, to support the implementation of Ohio’s Broadband and 5G Workforce Strategy at the regional level.

“With these regional partners in place, we’ll be better able to raise awareness of in-demand broadband careers, establish more local training programs in broadband occupations and maximize state and federal funding to help pay for this training,” said Matt Damschroder, director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, which is administering the grant.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.