Senators King and Risch Introduce the Jobs in the Woods Act
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRA is grateful to U.S. Senators Angus King (I-ME) and Jim Risch (R-ID), co-chairs of the Senate Working Forests Caucus, for introducing the bipartisan “Jobs in the Woods Act.” This critical legislation is set to enhance employment and engagement in the forest industry, focusing on rural forest-based economies. The Act aims to establish a grant program, fostering skill development and training initiatives to empower the forest products workforce, ultimately benefitting careers with the U.S. Forest Service and timber industries.
“Senator King underscores the importance of equipping the forestry workforce with necessary training and skills to responsibly manage forests and bolster local economies, said Deb Hawkinson, FRA President. The “Jobs in the Woods Act” will make substantial investments to support innovative workforce programs, ensuring quality job opportunities for Maine’s residents and securing the future of the state’s timber industry.”
“Senator Risch emphasizes the significance of maintaining a skilled forestry workforce for Idaho’s forest and economic well-being, said Keith Gray, FRA President-elect. The Act empowers rural communities to develop educational and training programs, ensuring the effective management of forests and the prevention of catastrophic wildfires in the years to come.”
“The sustainability and competitive viability of the forest products industry relies on an intact, healthy wood supply chain, including a viable workforce. The Jobs in the Woods Act provides workforce training opportunities for those interested in a career in forestry,” said Tim O’Hara, Forest Resources Association Vice President of Government Affairs. “A key component of the legislation includes education opportunities to expand high school forestry curricula in rural forest-based economies. These programs will provide an opportunity for young adults to establish a good career in the communities where they were raised.”
FRA Member Statements
“Maine landowners rely upon a well-trained workforce to harvest timber and move it to market,” said Dan Lamontagne, President and CEO of Seven Islands Land Company. “Seven Islands Land Company strongly supports the Jobs in the Woods Act, which will provide workforce development opportunities across the forest industry, and help students transition into rewarding forest-based careers in rural, timber-centric communities across the state. Thank you to Senator King for his leadership on this issue, which is so important in Maine and across the country.”
“Like other parts of the country, Maine is experiencing labor shortages in the forest product industry,” said Ryan McAvoy, a Sappi North American Wood Procurement Region Manager. “We have challenges filling jobs from the stump to finished product, and we need help educating, training, and bringing younger people into our workforce. The Jobs in the Woods Act would greatly assist in developing and sustaining a viable workforce for the forest products industry here in Maine, as well as other states around the country.”
The Jobs in the Woods Act is cosponsored by Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.).
About Forest Resources Association (FRA)
FRA is an association representing the interests of more than 350 organizations and businesses in the forest products industry, including forest landowners, suppliers, consuming mills, associated businesses, and state forestry associations. Members all share a common interest – they rely on FRA to promote the public policy interests of the forest products industry’s supply chain on Capitol Hill and our work to advance safety, operational and technical efficiencies, and supply chain relations. FRA has member representation in 49 states and 384 Congressional Districts.