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NTCA, NREA Partner to Promote Broadband Careers for K-12 Students

May 22, 2023
Toolkit for communications providers and educators to create more awareness of broadband careers among K-12 students.

NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association’s Smart Communities program and the National Rural Education Association (NREA) released a toolkit providing guidance and best practices for locally operated communications providers and educators to create more awareness of broadband careers among K-12 students.

The Broadband Opportunities and Leadership Development (BOLD) K-12 Career Awareness Toolkit is the latest initiative in NTCA’s efforts to create a 21st century workforce in rural America and help our country build a better broadband future. The toolkit was compiled by Joshua Seidemann, NTCA Vice President of Policy and Industry Innovation, with assistance from NREA Executive Director Allen Pratt and Joe Wood, NREA Southwest Tennessee.

“The need for a skilled workforce to build and maintain broadband networks across rural America is growing as demand and investment in broadband increases,” NTCA CEO Shirley Bloomfield said. “And where better to find future employees than the very students they are serving? Whether it is hosting students at site visits, working with schools to develop curricula, or even sponsoring esports programs, community-based broadband providers continue to find new and creative ways to engage students and get them excited about a career in the broadband industry.”

“The best way to continue strong rural communities and schools is to effectively train, mentor, and provide pathways to high-skilled jobs for the future,” NREA Executive Director Dr. Allen Pratt said. We know the best place to train and develop the workforce of the future via our partnership with Shirley and NTCA. Broadband will continue to be a lifeline for the rural communities and schools we serve.” 

NTCA has also partnered with Northwood Technical College to provide NTCA members with online access to Northwood’s Broadband Academy courses and “Digital Badging” program to provide employees with professional development opportunities and companies with a pipeline of skilled workers. In addition, NTCA partnered with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) to help make apprenticeship and OSHA 10 training programs accessible to NTCA member companies with CWA workforces. 


NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association is the premier association representing nearly 850 independent, community-based telecommunications companies that are leading innovative change in smart rural communities across America. In an era of transformative technological developments, regulatory challenges and marketplace competition, NTCA members are advancing efforts to close the digital divide by delivering robust and high-quality services over future-proof networks. Their commitment to building sustainable networks makes rural communities fertile ground for innovation in economic development, e-commerce, health care, agriculture and education, and it contributes billions of dollars to the U.S. economy each year. Visit us at  

The National Rural Education Association (NREA) was originally founded as the Department of Rural Education in 1907. It is the oldest established national organization of its kind in the United States. Through the years, it has evolved as a strong and respected organization of rural school administrators, teachers, board members, regional service agency personnel, researchers, business and industry representatives, and others interested in maintaining the vitality of rural school systems across the country.  Visit us at

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