Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Bryan, Texas, on June 3 for the donation of an indoor prop monopole cell tower.
“The tower precisely replicates what a veteran will see when they are out, climbing a 200-footer. For them to be able to learn, in this beautiful facility, under the cover, they can learn 24/7, 365, right here in this hanger, how to climb towers, get all those hand skills and equipment skills down,” said Kevin J. Kennedy, president and CEO of Warriors4Wireless (W4W). A charitable organization, W4W helps veterans find careers in the 5G wireless communications workforce.
The W4W partnership with TEEX and with W4W’s other training partner at Aiken Technical College provides veterans with a training opportunity that has proven to connect them with employment, not merely with a set of certifications, Kennedy explained.
Regarding the tower at TEEX, Kennedy said that T-Mobile, US Tower and TelTech joined in the fall of 2019 to address a training need in the facility at TEEX.
“These three decided they would build and equip a 20-foot training monopole specifically to be used in the TEEX training facility,” he said. “Over a period of six months, they designed, built and delivered all the parts and pieces to the facility in the spring of 2020 when the United States had moved into COVID lockdown. It took another year to work through the pandemic and its implications to get the tower installed into the facility, with the generous support of Wireless Horizon.”
According to Kennedy, the ribbon-cutting event celebrated the W4W mission and put into perspective the value the contribution. He said that during the past 40 months, the W4W program has included 60 tower tech training courses that trained 600 veterans. Reflecting the effectiveness of the program’s coaching team, Kennedy said, 90 percent of the course graduates decided they wanted to pursue a tower tech career. He said that 94 percent of these seeking a tower tech career receive job offers within 30 days of course completion.
“The valuable training program helps connect veterans seeking a 5G workforce career with hiring partners wanting to hire veterans,” Kennedy said. “This contribution showed the power of our mission and the metrics of our processes to contact, coach and then connect veterans to actual employment opportunities in climbing careers as tower technicians. The event also gave us an opportunity to speak about our ongoing efforts to replicate these processes to create similar opportunities for veterans desiring a non-climbing career in the 5G workforce.”
Kennedy said that today, W4W begins a two-week training program to help veterans earn three nationally recognized fiber-optic technician certifications. Then, Kennedy said, W4W would strive to connect them to hiring partners looking for entry-level workers with these skills.
Don Bishop is executive editor and associate publisher of AGL Magazine.