There’s been talk about a serious shortage of cell tower installers and technicians to roll out the necessary infrastructure for 5G. And now, Nokia is giving some credence to the reality of that shortage. Nokia and its subsidiary SAC Wireless are actively recruiting and training military veterans for tower climber jobs.
SAC Wireless specializes in site development, engineering design, construction and equipment installation, and operations and maintenance. The Nokia subsidiary works with telecom carriers, major tower owners, and original equipment manufacturers across the United States. “We bring more than two decades of experience to help our customers design, build and upgrade cellular networks,” states the SAC website.
SAC already runs employee training centers around the United States where it can train veterans on safety-focused telecom installation, including tower-climbing skills. “SAC Wireless also outfits its 5G tower crews with the newest, state-of-the-art equipment available,” said the company in a prepared statement. “Once their training is complete, military veterans re-enter the workforce with a cutting-edge skillset, which will be used to deploy 5G.”
Unemployment in the U.S. is at historical lows, but military veterans proportionally remain the highest unemployed segment of the population.
Cari Shyiak, CEO of SAC Wireless, said: "Service men and women are eager to use the skills they learned in the military, and the rollout of 5G is an ideal opportunity to bring them into the telecom workforce. SAC is working hard to bridge the gap between the demand for qualified, trained technicians and the expected upsurge in demand as 5G networks are being deployed in the U.S."
Although unemployment is low, and there appears to be a shortage of cell tower technicians, the telecom market is sending some mixed messages. In June, AT&T said it planned to cut 1,800 jobs from its wireline division by August or September, ahead of a slowdown on its fiber build-outs.
But, AT&T also appears to be settling its latest contracts with the Communications Workers of America (CWA), which represents a large chunk of the company's technicians and installers.