Sinema’s IMPACT Act creates a telecommunications job training grant program helping students at Tribal Colleges and Universities access critical training for good-paying jobs of the future
WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema introduced the bipartisan IMPACT Act with Republican Senator Roger Wicker (Miss.). The Senators’ legislation creates the Telecommunications Workforce Training Grant Program, allowing Tribal Colleges and Universities to partner with industry stakeholders and apply for grants to educate and train students to participate in good-paying telecommunications jobs of the future.
“We’re expanding opportunities for students from tribal communities to succeed in the jobs of the future while helping bridge the digital divide across Arizona,” said Sinema, a member of the Senate Commerce Committee.
“The nation’s 37 Tribal Colleges and Universities, which are the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, commend Senators Wicker and Sinema for their leadership in introducing this important and timely legislation. The Improving Minority Participation and Careers in Telecommunication Act could lead to hundreds or even thousands of well-paying jobs for Native people and help us bridge the digital divide in Indian Country. The programs the bill help build will empower our people to be part of the solution – creating digital opportunities, growing rural economies, and strengthening individual and family incomes. We urge Congress to swiftly pass this much-needed legislation,” said Carrie L. Billy, American Indian Higher Education Consortium President and CEO.
Sinema’s bipartisan IMPACT Act creates the Telecommunications Workforce Training Grant Program at the Department of Commerce. Tribal Colleges and Universities, historically black colleges and universities, and other minority serving institutions can partner with industry, labor, or nonprofit stakeholders and apply for grants to educate and train students to participate in the telecommunications workforce. 30% of the grants would go to Tribal Colleges and Universities. The grants would last for five years and the recipients would have to provide a report on their programs.
Sinema’s IMPACT Act is supported by the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the Wireless Infrastructure Association, USTelecom, and the National Association of Tower Erectors.
Sinema is a champion of expanding higher education and workforce development opportunities and has worked to increase connectivity across Arizona. Last Congress, the Senate passed the Sinema-backed Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education (FUTURE) Act, which provides funding for 16 Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) and four Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) in Arizona to improve STEM programs, expand research opportunities, and provide services like counseling, tutoring, and mentoring.