Dean Cristol, associate professor of education, is one of Ohio State’s principal investigators working to develop and strengthen Ohio’s broadband and 5G workforce.
The “Strengthening Ohio’s Broadband and 5G Workforce” project is part of Ohio’s effort to expand and strengthen access to broadband connectivity for both Ohio residents and businesses.
Cristol is part of the 5G-OH: 5G and Broadband Connectivity Center, which will design and implement curricula and programming for Ohio’s Broadband and 5G Sector Partnership in an effort to develop a skilled broadband and 5G workforce, establishing career pathways, K-12 outreach, and forming statewide regional partnerships between education and industry providers. Once developed, the programs will be available to all higher education institutions in Ohio to implement.
As the majority of the people involved in the work are not educators, Cristol is tasked with bringing in the perspective of both an educator and educational researcher.
“My current role is to create a ‘playbook’ focusing on how to create local partnerships that can deliver educational, workforce and manufacturing needs to the Ohio regions (northwest, northeast, central, southwest, southeast),” Cristol says. “The goal is for this playbook to be used by other interested parties who are interested in creating such partnerships.”
The 5G and Broadband Connectivity Center combines activities from Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical Engineering, the Ohio Education Research Center, and the Center on Education and Training and Employment to inform industry and government in the 5G/Broadband space. 5G-OH houses the Industry Sector Partnership, a collaboration between the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation and the Wireless Infrastructure Association. The combined efforts in this space facilitate the 5G and broadband build-out across Ohio, with an emphasis on bridging the digital divide.