This spring, Caterpillar will cooperate with Greenville, North Carolina’s Pitt Community College and the North Carolina Association of Professional Loggers to launch a comprehensive 12-week training program for logging equipment operators, combining classroom work and practical operating experience in the field. Caterpillar Forest Products is donating $1.25 million in equipment to the project, including a Cat 525C skidder, a Cat 573 wheel feller buncher, and a Cat 559 DS loader.
The program will “recruit” students from “tobacco-dependent, economically distressed, and/or rural counties in North Carolina.” However, anyone 18 years or older, including out-of-state residents, may apply. The curriculum will go beyond mechanical, situational awareness, and environmental concerns, and will also cover “employability and life skills”—how to get and keep a job and how to manage money.
Sponsors say they have already lined up 25 employers who have committed to hiring the program’s graduates, and that a job fair at the end of the training will bring employers and graduates together. Furthermore, between three and six months after a graduate has been placed in a job, both employee and employer will be contacted for follow-up evaluation of the training. “After conducting two training sessions the first year, we will probably run it once a year and move it to other colleges that want to work with the Association and host the training,” comments Pitt Community College’s dean of continuing education.
The program will be hiring two full-time positions—a training director and a logging supervisor; anyone interested should contact NCAPL’s Doug Duncan at [email protected]. To apply to be trained in the program, request information from NCAPL by e-mailing [email protected].