Columbus Goodwill facility will be a hub to train for broadband building jobs in Ohio
It’s estimated that 32,000 jobs will be needed to build out a broadband network throughout Ohio. And to get to that goal, the state is partnering with a business best known for its thrift stores.
Goodwill Columbus cut the ribbon on its new job training center Monday, where free, broadband-related job training will be offered, thanks to $800,000 in funding from the new state budget.
Another $7,000 is available to people with disabilities for college, job training or credentialing programs, said Kevin Miller, director of Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities.
“So individuals who maybe are on individualized education plans coming out of high school, who are who are thinking about, ‘Is it college, is it something in a career tech program?’ - this would be a perfect partnership," Miller said.
The Broadband Infrastructure Training Program will teach the basics of broadband, electrical and fiber connections, but the Goodwill facility will also offer courses in IT, healthcare, hospitality and commercial driving.
“We think that this is a good incubator to try to get more and more individuals really just some confidence that we can help smooth that out, be able to help with tuition assistance and also help them with their programmatic needs as well," Miller said.
The project is touted as a bipartisan effort. It's in the district of state Rep. Latyna Humphrey (D-Columbus). She points out that while 77.1% of her constituents are in the workforce compared to 77.9% statewide, they make an average of only $41,000 a year compared to the statewide average of $56,000. Workforce development, Humphrey said, can help bridge that gap.