Preparing for the Broadband Workforce

Preparing for the Broadband Workforce

Posted on January 13, 2023 by Karen Stewart, Digital Access for All Engagement Team

The Digital Access for All initiative launched by The Patterson Foundation has been working to connect and engage with Charlotte, Desoto, Manatee, and Sarasota to strengthen individuals, organizations, and communities while striving to enhance digital equity, which drives economic competitiveness. One of the most effective ways to build economic competitiveness is to create quality jobs that include competitive pay and benefits and provide economic mobility for all.

The Lightcast Occupational Snapshot Report is a hybrid data set collected from various official government sources, including the U.S. Census, Bureau of Economic Analysis, and Bureau of Labor Statistics. It captures data from 99% of all U.S. workers. The Occupational Snapshot is enhanced with data from online social profiles, resumes, and job postings to provide a complete view of the workforce. The Snapshot is routinely cited in The Atlantic, Forbes, Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. The Snapshot compares the national average with a similar size area to the Northport-Sarasota-Bradenton Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).

CareerSource Suncoast recently shared an occupational snapshot report highlighting data for the MSA for Fiber Network Field Technicians. The Snapshot draws data from the closest matching official job classifications as a proxy for the data, which is telecommunication equipment installers and repairers, except for line installers. Here are some of the data:

The supply of jobs is average. National average = 368 and MSA = 372.



The cost for talent is low. National median = $59,928 and MSA = $48,711. While talent is 19% cheaper, the cost of relocation may make talent attraction difficult.




Demand for workers shows 35 candidates competing for 113 unique job postings over the last 12 months, with average posting for jobs being 35 days, which is 6 days longer than typical in MSA.



The top 5 occupations are wired and wireless telecommunications (66%), building equipment contractors (14%), electronic and precision equipment repair and maintenance (4%),and other telecommunications and employment services (4%).




The top 5 specialized skills (frequency in job postings) are hand tools, upselling, customer advocacy, business-to-business, and cable television. Other common skills include a valid driver’s license, customer service, communications, a good driving record, lifting ability, and multi-tasking.


Reviewing the Lightcast Snapshot provides a glimpse into the types of training, upskilling, and apprenticeships that may be needed to ensure a strong broadband workforce. The Digital Equity Scorecard for Florida indicates that the State has more than one technology-related apprenticeship in place. The Department of Economic Opportunity leads an initiative to expand apprenticeship opportunities throughout the State in collaboration with CareerSource Florida and the Florida Department of Education. In addition, there are numerous national apprenticeships and certifications to be explored in future articles that may help to prepare for the broadband workforce.

Finally, it will be valuable to survey internet service providers, governments, and telecommunications companies to better understand workforce needs related to broadband deployment. Stay tuned.

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