Logger Education Program: general
FOROP is now in its fourth year of operation, having evolved from a pilot program at a community college in North Carolina into the current structure as a non-profit school with a mobile classroom, assets, and tools to provide full-time training on active logging jobs. All aspects of production-paced logging are emphasized.
Fig. 1: FOROP logo.
The Forest Equipment Operator Training School (FOROP) offers both basic and specialized training. Basic training entails comprehensive operation of skidder, feller-buncher, and knuckleboom loader, with delimber and bucksaw training offered for entry-level operators. Students are screened for a willingness to start a career and also for past heavy equipment experience. Average class length is 8-10 weeks, depending on competencies achieved, and many are able to secure employment before conclusion of training.
Specialized training can be started at any time and draws in existing logging operators who want to upgrade their skill levels, typically from operating a skidder to operating a feller- buncher or loader. Logging business owners can send their current employees to FOROP to be trained and returned to their crew.
Fig. 2: Mobile classroom supplements and lays groundwork for in-woods, on-machine training.
There is no tuition, and students receive a small stipend to defray travel. They are interviewed by instructors and are drug-tested prior to acceptance (and randomly after that). Training on live production logging sites runs from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM daily, with students providing their own lunch and beverages and their own transportation to the sites, as well as their own lodging. FOROP provides all personal protective equipment, except for the 6-inch safety-toed work boots, which the student must provide. FOROP utilizes a mobile classroom and advanced teaching technology, such as GoPro cameras and Internet tools. Safety, professionalism, productivity, and teamwork are incorporated into all aspects of FOROP training. Students are offered assistance with job placement following successful completion of the training.
Fig. 3: Safety and planning meeting before beginning the work/training session.
Loggers have been some of our best recruiters. If they can identify solid prospects within their own communities, they can send them to FOROP training without losing production on their own operations or risking equipment abuse or safety exposures. FOROP will train them and send them back to their community with honest feedback about their skills and abilities. FOROP also offers mini classes for community college and university student groups.
In addition to the FOROP web site, the school is very active on Facebook, posting photos, videos, and descriptions of training almost daily.
In early 2015, FOROP operated on thinning and clearcut operations in eastern North Carolina. In summer and fall of 2015, the entire school will operate on timber tracts northeast of Lynchburg, Virginia for approximately six months.
Fig. 4: In addition to the comprehensive operator training, FOROP offers mini classes at colleges. Shown here: Dabney Lancaster Community College class in Clifton Forge, Virgina.
SPECIFICATIONS AND COSTS:
FOROP is supported by CAT Forest Products with new equipment provided by their dealerships in Virginia and North Carolina. This year, Carter Machinery, Carolina CAT, and Pioneer-Gregory Poole Forest Products provided (respectively) a 573C feller-buncher, a 525C skidder, and a 559C loader. MeadWestvaco (now WestRock) is also supporting upcoming FOROP efforts and assisting with contacts and logistics for Virginia activities.
The training and instruction costs are funded primarily either by means of pay-as-cut sales or service contracts for the cut, skid, and load. Stumpage for pay-as-cut is usually negotiated with large landowners. FOROP has delivery contracts with mills in the areas they operate in. Trucking is contracted.
Executive Director and CEO
Forest Equipment Operator Training School, Inc.
809 Greenwood Circle
Cary, North Carolina 27511 919-271-9050
Appalachian/Southwide Region Manager