Ashland one of two schools picked for State of Ohio’s 5G Readiness Pilot program

Rikin Thakker of the WIA, Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted, Ashland President Carlos Campo, and Youngstown State President Jim Tressel.

ASHLAND, Ohio – Ashland University has been one of two institutions initially selected to participate in the State of Ohio’s 5G Readiness Pilot program. The announcement was formally made by Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted on Monday morning during a press conference at Youngstown State University, the other school that will take part in this innovative program.

Ashland is the recipient of a $160,000 grant from the Office of Workforce Transformation and will receive support and training from the Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA) to administer the new program, which will be housed under the College of Online and Adult Studies. The funding will be utilized to partner with the WIA to host 5G Readiness training, and provide scholarships for 25 Ohioans to participate.

Husted praised Ashland and Youngstown State for their initiative and willingness. “They are responsive institutions to the needs of their students and the needs of their community. They have been very responsive every time we’ve tried to stand up with new ideas, and I want to thank them for their leadership today,” he remarked. “The students who complete this program will understand the core fundamentals of 5G, which will allow them to start their careers in telecommunications at a higher level than they would otherwise be eligible. This is a leading-edge partnership.”

The 5G Readiness Pilot, slated to launch in January 2022, will consist of 80 non-credit hours of workforce training material, including hands-on exercises and fieldwork at a cell site. According to the WIA, the coursework and training will lead “to the competencies required to understand, plan, and implement telecommunications solutions, including mobile broadband and 5G.”

Students who complete this program will have many career paths and improved potential for upward mobility in a field that is developing rapidly. Research by the WIA reveals that “5G deployment has the potential to contribute $1.7 trillion to the U.S. economy and create 4.6 million jobs over the next decade.”

In his remarks during the press conference, Carlos Campo, president of Ashland University, cited several examples of the benefits of 5G and expressed his excitement for the partnership. “I think about our students at Youngstown State and Ashland working on an art mural (in) real time in immersive technology … from a rural county (perspective), a farmer can wake up and on his/her smartphone check on the hitches, fuel efficiency, and location of tractors … the Appalachian girl who takes a lesson on the Ice Age and points her device at this virtual reality and a mastodon will appear before her … (and with) 5G technology that will be much more stable allowing those students (who) are getting quality education behind bars and be able to transition even more effectively.”

He continued, “This is the hope and the promise that 5G brings to our future. It is all of our responsibility to ensure that access and that equality and that promise is something that can come to be, and we believe we can have a minor in wireless technology on our campus is a great goal. Beyond that, we know that Ohio is a stronger state if we allow 5G technology to truly take hold and that promise to become a reality.”

If you’re interested in participating in the 5G Readiness Pilot program, please email 5G@ashland.edu.