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Thousands of Jobs Coming to Ohio Thanks to Broadband Expansion

CHESAPEAKE, Ohio (WSAZ) – Broadband expansion upgrades are coming to improve strength and connectivity in Ohio.

The state plans to create thousands of jobs in Ohio to help increase the workforce needed to build the infrastructure.

Melissa Goodwin, owner of Ohio Valley Outlet, said she relies on a strong and reliable internet connection to keep things running smoothly.

“I rely on it 24/7. I’m on a computer most of the day because I do a lot of online sales, EBAY and customer inquiries. I’m on the internet all day,” Goodwin said.

Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted announced an Individualized Microloan Assistance Program (IMAP) focused on broadband and 5G. This is the third cycle of the initiative, which helps low-income, partially or fully unemployed people to participate in a training program and receive a technology-focused degree free of charge. The goal is to develop the workforce to build broadband infrastructure in Ohio.

Eligible credentials include Fiber Optic, Telecom Tower Technician, Fiber to Any Antenna (FTAA), and 5G Readiness Program.

“We strive to ensure that everyone can participate in the modern economy, education and healthcare through broadband access, and to do this, infrastructure must be built from zero by skilled workers,” Husted said. “These short-term degrees can be earned quickly and will provide excellent job opportunities for Ohioans to earn an average of $50,000 per year or more.”

“As we expand our broadband and 5G footprint in Ohio, we’ll need the workers who can make it happen,” said Lydia Mihalik, director of the Ohio Department of Development, which administers the program. “The goal of this IMAP cycle will help more Ohioans enter the job market of the future and set them on the path to success.”

Husted also announced Friday that four schools in Southeast Ohio will partner to offer a Certified Fiber Optic Technician program.

Washington County Career Center, Middle East Career and Technology Centers, Belmont-Harrison Career Centers and the local Noble School District worked with local industry partners to secure a donated mobile trailer that will be shared between the institutions. Schools will schedule each facility to offer the program at six- to eight-week intervals, and then the mobile trailer will move to the next facility for another cohort.

The IMAP application period for training providers ends on June 27.

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