Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in September 2017, causing over $91 billion in damage and destroying much of the nation’s infrastructure. While conditions in Puerto Rico have improved two years post-Hurricane Maria, the unemployment rate continues to rise and current political unrest presents significant challenges for the island nation.
Meanwhile, by contrast, the telecommunications industry stateside is experiencing a tight labor market with low unemployment, provoking hiring deficits for the industry in the states. The result is that tower technicians are moving project-to-project and company-to-company for the next higher pay.
Because of this demand, KGPCo’s leadership tasked the Business Development team to step up, ask questions and take-action. Led by Kim Morrison, RVP of East Sales, the team identified a solution that bridged the gap between demand for more tower crews and Puerto Rico’s growing unemployed labor force post-Maria.
Through local Puerto Rican partnerships with the Polytechnical University of Puerto Rico, local contractor Gatec, Inc., and supported by KGPCo’s Quality and Safety team, Morrison and team developed a certified tower training course.
The Polytechnical University, an accredited academic institution, offers KGPCo a vehicle to offer a certified tower technician training program as a continuing education course. To develop the course KGPCo worked closely with industry recognized training professionals to design a four-week training program, hosted at the University. The training includes 140 contact hours of training on tower safety, rigging and overall installing and maintenance logistics as well as providing an Authorized Climber & Rescue designation, putting the trainees in excellent position to gain the certification needed to support the building efforts across Puerto Rico and stateside. The certification course consists of both classroom style and on-the-job training formats over the course of four weeks.
This June, the first class of 20 young men completed the tower training course, with a graduation ceremony held at the University. Preparations for a second class are underway for this fall.
In the industry, properly training “greenies” (ie: new tower technicians) and providing the proper education needed to develop them into knowledgeable and practiced tower-technicians is an underserved, inconsistent gap. Investing in solutions to close this gap not only ensures techs have the correct tools and training to enter the ever-expanding telecom tower industry, but also establishes new resources for the industry that will directly impact KGPCo’s Tier 1 customer programs.
"We are proud to be a part of a program that offers Puerto Rican men and women an opportunity to develop a career in the telecom industry, especially during this time of political unrest. It’s a win-win for the rising technicians and the telecom industry," said Morrison.
The Puerto Rico Tower Training program complements KGPCo’s Core Values by strengthening our commitment to positively impacting Puerto Rico while building a workforce that directly impacts our Tier 1 customer programs. Developing expertly skilled technicians who deliver quality work with a commitment to safety is paramount to our customers’ network evolution into 5G.
KGPCo is the leading provider of complete, customized, and scalable network transformation and supply chain solutions for the communications industry. The go-to partner that enables customers to build, optimize and transform their networks. The only large-scale organization that combines a comprehensive suite of technical strategy and implementation services with a global logistics network and portfolio of technology partnerships. With a Solution Innovation Center to evaluate, design, and engineer cloud, virtualization and disaggregated solutions developed and operationalized in the live network environment. KGPCo is a trusted partner for customers, providing a single brand that can deliver a complement of network solutions.