Professional Logging Contractors of the Northeast, NMCC announce recruiting is underway for Mechanized Logging Operations and Forest Trucking Program

5 months ago

HINCKLEY, Maine — The Professional Logging Contractors of the Northeast and Northern Maine Community College announced recruiting is underway for the Mechanized Logging Operations and Forest Trucking Program, an expanded version of their highly successful logging operations certificate program that now includes Commercial Driver’s License training.

The program will run for 20 weeks, from June 24 to November 7. Classes will take place at an active timber harvest site on the Kennebec Valley Community College Alfond Campus on U.S. Route 201 in Hinckley. Tuition remains free for qualified students.

“This program has a proven track record of addressing Maine’s shortage of qualified logging operators and forest truckers in an efficient and affordable way,” PLC Executive Director Dana Doran said. “Thanks to Maine’s Congressional delegation the program has secured Congressional Directed Spending support, and with planned new equipment purchases to support forest trucking for this year’s program, we are well positioned to provide top-notch instruction and hands-on experience for the incoming class.”

“This short-term training is the opportunity of a lifetime for people looking to learn equipment operation and earn a CDL,” stated NMCC Assistant Dean of Continuing Education Leah Buck. “To be able to learn both in a 20-week span is incredible, and thanks to a grant from the USDOL supported by Senators King, Collins, and Rep. Golden we can offer this training at no cost to the 16 students selected to join us this summer. I encourage anyone interested in the program to reach out and fill out the online application without delay. A career working in the woods of Maine is waiting.”

The opportunity to earn a CDL-A permit and receive preparation for the state driving exam was a significant addition to the program in 2023 and has expanded opportunities for graduates while increasing benefits to Maine logging employers who need more mechanized logging operators and truck drivers.

Students enrolled in the post-secondary training program will harvest timber and operate trucks using sophisticated state-of-the-art machines like those they will encounter in the logging industry. The hands-on experience students gain operating equipment is an opportunity unavailable anywhere else in Maine and neighboring states and will prepare them for in-demand careers with logging contractors throughout the state of Maine. A report released by the University of Southern Maine in 2019 documented that up to 2,000 positions in timber harvesting and trucking will be available in the next decade.

The program includes a strong emphasis on safety as well as giving students an understanding of the variables of timber growth, tree species, and markets. Students pay no tuition or fees, and the program provides all personal protective equipment.

This project is funded 100 percent by a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.

The program was created in 2017 by the Maine Community College System, the PLC, and industry partners. This year’s class will be the eighth since its launch, and dozens of graduates are working in Maine’s logging industry today.

Approximately 95 percent of logging in Maine now relies on mechanized equipment. The industry also relies almost exclusively on heavy trucks to move wood. With the majority of logging operators and forest truckers at or near retirement age, the demand for new workers in the logging industry is high and most students in the previous certificate program have had job offers before graduating.

Anyone with an interest in the program should contact Holly Grant at Northern Maine Community College at 207-768-2645 or by visiting nmcc.edu to apply. Additional information may be found online at plcloggers.org

Maine’s loggers are a vital part of the state’s forest products sector, which is worth an estimated $8.1 billion annually. Logging contributed an estimated $582 million to the state economy in 2021.