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Tag Archives: National Wireless Safety Alliance

How Trade Certification Helps Wireless Industry Workers

By Don Bishop

Duane MacEntee (left), a partner at the law firm of Barker MacEntee and executive director of the National Wireless Safety Alliance, and Todd Schlekeway, president and CEO of NATE: The Communications Infrastructure Contractors Association.

Referring to what he called an incredible uplift in adoption of National Wireless Safety Alliance certification, Duane MacEntee, NWSA’s executive director, said that the organization has administered almost 30,000 examinations since its inception in 2015, and the vast majority of those have been given in the last 18 months. MacEntee spoke during an AGL Virtual Summit in June at the session, “Initiatives Grow the Communications Infrastructure Workforce and Increase Diversity,” moderated by Todd Schlekeway, president and CEO of NATE: The Communications Infrastructure Contractors Association.

MacEntee also is a founding partner of the law firm of Barker MacEntee, whose practice includes serving engineering firms and contractors doing business in wireless communications.

Among NWSA’s members are carriers, tower owners, contractors and supporting organizations that wanted an independent mechanism for verifying and validating worker proficiency, MacEntee said. He said the organization is becoming quite successful at having a trade certification. A trade certification differs from a training certificate, and he said both are extremely important.

According to MacEntee, a training certificate is evidence that someone has gone through a class, and has been trained on a particular skill. What a trade certification does is more comprehensive, he said.

“A trade certification is a test that validates the knowledge and experience of an individual at a certain proficiency level,” MacEntee said. “It has to be unbiased. We did this to make sure that we had an independent, verifiable and portable credential that goes to the worker, no matter where the worker is employed. It’s not unlike a welder: no matter where they got to work, they’re certified. That’s the analogy I draw for a crane operator.”

What NWSA tried to do, MacEntee explained, was to ensure that it came in at the right level within the framework of the apprenticeship model or the O*NET model of occupations, and to have the right people coming to the table. An example of a relevant apprenticeship model is the Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program (TIRAP) that includes 11 occupations. The Occupational Information Network (O*NET) was  developed under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration through a grant to the North Carolina Department of Commerce. The O*NET database contains hundreds of standardized and occupation-specific descriptors for 1,000 occupations covering the U.S. economy.

As MacEntee explained, NWSA follows a deliberate, disciplined process, and the American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) national accreditation board accredits NWSA. “That’s what gives us the credibility that we are managing the program to a standard that’s unquestionable, and that our testing instruments themselves are validated statistically,” MacEntee said.

The use of a statistical validation called psychometrics make sure that NWSA is testing at the right level and that its tests achieve what the wireless communications industry says it needs, MacEntee said. “We go through a lot of science to get to a test that’s valid,” he said. “It’s the first time in our industry where there’s a credential that follows the worker, no matter where they’re employed. It’s meaningful for the professionalism industry.”

As a wireless communications industry worker pursues a career, there are points along the way where certification becomes important, MacEntee said. Typically, with an apprenticeship model, certification becomes critical, leading to NWSA’s collaboration with TIRAP.

“Many TIRAP members also are NWSA members,” MacEntee said. “We work together to identify trade certifications. It allows someone new coming into the industry to identify a path that they can point to, not unlike other professions in the trades in which they have an occupation that can provide for their families for years to come, and in which they can make progress. It’s a stair-step process.

“For workers who want to come in, who are dedicated to progression and who want to learn more, we have something for them to achieve that then represents the worker to employers that they can rely on, that doesn’t waste a lot of time in retraining all the time,” MacEntee said.

“If someone comes in to a trade at a certain level of proficiency —no one questions an electrician, a master electrician, as to whether or not they know Ohms law, right. Therefore, it’s that kind of thing. We’re looking at that as being a very big plus for our industry.

For the June 8 AGL Virtual Summit, Total Tech sponsors included Raycap, Valmont Site Pro 1, Vertical Bridge and B+T Group. Tech sponsors included Alden Systems and Aurora Insight. Viavi Solutions sponsored the keynote address. Additional sponsors included Gap Wireless, NATE, VoltServer and WIA.

Sharpe Smith programmed the Summit, and Kari Willis hosted. AGL Media Group has scheduled the next AGL Virtual Summit for Sept. 8. To register, click here.

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Don Bishop is executive editor and associate publisher of AGL Magazine.

Registration Deadline Extended for NWSA Fall Practical Examiner Accreditation Workshop in South Dakota

Workshop to Provide Opportunity for Participants to Obtain NWSA Accreditation to Administer Field-Based Practical Exams


The National Wireless Safety Alliance (NWSA) is encouraging industry employers, trainers and workers to register for the Telecommunications Tower Technician Practical Examiner Accreditation Program (PEAP) Workshop scheduled for September 24-26, 2019 in Sioux Falls, SD. The workshop, the third offered by NWSA in 2019, will be hosted by VIKOR. The registration deadline has been extended to Friday, September 13.

NWSA-accredited Practical Examiners are NWSA-certified personnel who have been trained and authorized by NWSA to administer the practical examinations for NWSA certification programs. In order to become an NWSA- accredited Practical Examiner, you must:

· Be certified by NWSA in both certification designations (TTT-1 and TTT-2)

· Have three (3) years of industry-related experience

· Attend a NWSA Practical Examiner Accreditation Workshop, during which your performance as a Practical Examiner will be observed and evaluated

· Pass a Practical Examiner Accreditation Program (PEAP) Workshop written exam testing your knowledge of the role of the Practical Examiner and the test administration process

· Pass the practical exam(s) in the presence of an NWSA representative (even if currently certified)

· Have a direct email address to receive email notifications from NWSA (this may not be a shared address)

Individuals interested in participating are encouraged to complete the NWSA PEAP Workshop application HERE and return it to NWSA via email to [email protected]. The deadline to register for this workshop is Friday, September 13, 2019.

NWSA reviews all potential participants’ applications before admission to the workshop is granted. All applications must include payment and the submission of a resume or will be considered incomplete and will not be processed. Each workshop is strictly limited to eight (8) participants and will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis.

“NWSA is excited to host our third Practical Examiner Workshop of 2019 this September in the Great Plains region of the country,” said Executive Director Duane MacEntee. “These workshops continue to be a success and allow the organization to continue to grow our vast network of examiners that are instrumental to the NWSA worker credentialing process,” added MacEntee.

Industry workers, companies and stakeholders are encouraged to visit the NWSA website at www.nws-a.org to learn more about the organization and how to begin the process of obtaining certification

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NWSA Launches Additional Telecommunications Tower Foreman and Antenna & Line Specialty Certification Programs

New Nationwide and Portable Certification Programs Provide Career Progression Pathways for Industry Workers


National Wireless Safety Alliance (NWSA) has officially launched the Telecommunications Tower Foreman and Antenna & Line Specialty Certification Programs.

These programs were developed by the NWSA’s Foreman and Antenna & Line Specialty Task Force that is comprised of subject matter experts from all aspects of the communications industry – tower technicians, carriers, tower owners/vertical realtors, OEM’s contractors, trainers, manufacturers and suppliers – who together represent many thousands of hours of related telecommunications and tower experience.

“NWSA is excited to come out of the gates strong in 2019 by launching the new Telecommunications Tower Foreman and Antenna & Line Specialty Certification Programs,” said NWSA Board of Directors President Don Doty. “These new national and portable worker credentialing offerings fulfill the NWSA’s goal of developing upward mobility among the professional workforce by providing career progression of certification pathways,” added Doty.

In developing the programs, NWSA continued its collaboration with the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) to facilitate designing the exams and credentialing programs in alignment with the certification industry’s most rigorous accreditation requirements.

To achieve NWSA Antenna & Line Specialty certification, candidates are required to be an NWSA Telecommunications Tower Technician 2 (TTT-2) and successfully complete a computer-based (CBT) written examination to demonstrate their knowledge and skills related to installation, repair, troubleshooting and maintenance of antennas, transmission lines and mounts on communication structures. The testing fee to obtain NWSA Antenna & Line Specialty certification is $274.

To become a certified NWSA Foreman, candidates must have previously achieved their TTT-2 certification as well as at least one NWSA “Specialty” certification, such as the Antenna & Line Specialty, and successfully complete a computer-based (CBT) written examination to demonstrate their knowledge and skills related to supervision of crews performing construction, installation, demolition, and/or maintenance on communication sites in accordance with construction drawings and/or written scopes of work and in compliance with applicable industry standards and best practices. The testing fee to obtain a NWSA Foreman certification is $274.

“This is a banner day for NWSA as these new worker certification programs will continue to cultivate a culture of safety and quality among the industry’s workforce,” stated Executive Director Duane MacEntee. “I would like to thank all of the subject matter experts who made these certification offerings a reality by dedicating themselves over the past year to share their collective experience for the benefit of the industry,” MacEntee added.

NWSA will start developing additional Specialty certifications in the coming months. The next development priority is in the area of tower rigging, followed by structural modifications. These certifications will also satisfy the Specialty prerequisite for Foreman certification.

Upon passing these exams and meeting all other certification criteria, candidates are issued a wallet certification card that can be authenticated through the NWSA’s online credential verification database search tool.  Candidates and industry stakeholders are encouraged to visit www.nws-a.orgfor detailed information on the certification process, applying for CBT tests and practical examinations, credential verification and for more information on new certification programs.

National Wireless Safety Alliance Announces Board of Governors Leadership Appointments

AT&T’s Coleman and American Tower Corporation’s Roberts to Serve as Chairman and Vice Chairman; Barker, Cullum and Wilkerson to Join NWSA Board of Governors


The National Wireless Safety Alliance (NWSA) announced today that Jim Coleman, National Tower Safety Manager at AT&T and Paul Roberts, Vice President of Compliance at American Tower Corporation, have been appointed to serve as Chairman and Vice Chairman respectively, of the organization’s Board of Governors.

NWSA also announced that J. John Barker, Partner of Barker MacEntee PLLC, Richard Cullum, Director of Safety at Crown Castle, and Nick Wilkerson, Director of Safety at SBA Communications Corporation, have been added as new members of the Alliance’s Board of Governors.

Additionally, NWSA announced that five incumbent Governors were recently ratified by the organization’s Board of Directors to serve a new 5-year term through October 31, 2023. The reappointed Governors include Chris Mallon, TowerMRL, Inc., Kevin Schmidt, Sioux Falls Tower & Communications, Jose Tarafa, MasTec Network Solutions, Gary Trent, US Cellular and Jocko Vermillion, CITCA.

“NWSA is excited to have both Jim and Paul serve in their new leadership roles with the Board of Governors and we are also thrilled to add the talents of Jay, Richard and Nick as Governors,” said Executive Director Duane MacEntee. “Additionally, the ratification of the five incumbent Governors to serve another 5-year term will help provide continuity at a critical time in order for NWSA to continue developing and offering our national, portable and independent worker certification programs,” added MacEntee.

NWSA, headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, is a national non-profit assessment and certification organization established to provide thorough, independent assessments of knowledge and skills and provide verifiable worker certification in order to enhance safety, reduce workplace risk, improve quality, encourage training, and recognize the skilled professionals who work on towers and other non-standard communication structures.

The NWSA Board of Governors consists of representatives from a broad cross-section of the industry and is tasked with developing policy and overseeing the activities of the various committees that will serve under their jurisdiction.

NWSA currently offers two industry-wide certification programs: Telecommunications Tower Technician 1 (TTT-1) and Telecommunications Tower Technician 2 (TTT-2). Additionally, the NWSA Telecommunication Tower Foreman certification is slated to be unveiled during the first quarter of 2019. This new certification will create a credentialing system for industry workers who supervise crews that work on communications structures, whether they are antenna and line crews, construction crews, or structural modification crews.

Other assessment and certification programs NWSA will likely unveil in the future include Rigging, Small Cell/DAS Technician, Structural Modifications, Gin Pole Operations and Broadcast Tall Tower Technician.

Industry workers, companies and stakeholders are encouraged to visit the NWSA website at www.nws-a.org to learn more about the organization and how to begin the process of obtaining certification.

 

NWSA Announces Dates, Locations for Fall 2018 PEAP Workshops

Workshops Provide Opportunity for Participants to Obtain NWSA Accreditation to Administer Field-Based Practical Exams


The National Wireless Safety Alliance (NWSA) is encouraging industry employers, trainers and workers to register for several upcoming Telecommunications Tower Technician Practical Examiner Accreditation Program (PEAP) Workshops scheduled for this fall. NWSA announced today that it is facilitating workshops in Minnesota and California on the following dates:

October 1-5 – Eagan, MN (Hosted by Vertical Limit, LLC)

October 22-26 – Vista, CA (Hosted by Pacific Safety Solutions LLC)

Industry stakeholders who attend the workshops will be provided an opportunity to complete both the NWSA practical exam to become certified as a Telecommunications Tower Technician (TTT) while also obtaining official accreditation from the NWSA as a Practical Examiner. NWSA Practical Examiners are authorized to administer practical exams to anyone seeking technician certification from the organization.

The first two days of each workshop will be dedicated to practical exam testing and the remaining three days will be devoted to the PEAP workshop. NWSA is allowing workshop attendees to complete their practical exams as part of the workshop. This is a great benefit of the 2018 PEAP workshops which will not be an option for the 2019 workshops NWSA hosts around the country. Each workshop host site will facilitate practical testing along with NWSA Workshop Instructor, Clint Cook.

“The NWSA PEAP workshops have been very successful in the continuing effort to build our network of accredited practical examiners around the country and provide more opportunities for industry workers to obtain national certification credentials,” stated Executive Director Duane MacEntee. “I would highly encourage companies, training providers and stakeholders in the industry to register a representative to participate today as we anticipate the fall 2018 workshops in Minnesota and California to fill up fast,” MacEntee added.

Individuals interested in participating are encouraged to complete the NWSA PEAP Workshop application and return it to NWSA via email to [email protected] The deadline to register for a workshop is two weeks prior to the first day of the scheduled event.

NWSA reviews all potential participants’ applications before admission to the workshop is granted. All applications must include payment and the submission of a resume or will be considered incomplete and will not be processed. Each workshop is strictly limited to eight (8) participants and will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis.

After an applicant’s workshop application is approved, they will be notified of the open time slots for practical testing and can make their request at that time. Once confirmed, NWSA will provide the candidate with their scheduled time slots for practical testing.

Certification fees for practical testing are separate from the workshop fee and will be due upon onsite practical testing registration.

It is important to note that all applicants must have taken and passed NWSA’s Computer Based Test (CBT) prior to participating in the PEAP Workshop. NWSA will allow prospective participants to submit a workshop application now, but a passing score on the CBT is required before acceptance is granted for the PEAP Workshop. Interested candidates who have yet to complete NWSA’s CBT exam are encouraged to register for their CBT exam as soon as possible.

Industry workers, companies and stakeholders are encouraged to visit the NWSA website at www.nws-a.org to learn more about the organization and how to begin the process of obtaining certification.

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About National Wireless Safety Alliance

NWSA, headquartered in Fairfax, VA, is a national non-profit assessment and certification organization established to provide thorough, independent assessments of knowledge and skills and verifiable worker certification in order to enhance safety, reduce workplace risk, improve quality, encourage training, and recognize the skilled professionals who work on towers and other non-standard communication structures.
Contact: Duane MacEntee
[email protected]