FRA members have long embraced the importance of identifying and training workers for the many jobs across the supply chain for the forest products industry. Interfor, a FRA member, has launched a new training program. FRA wants to acknowledge these best practices in training the current and the next generation of workers. Interfor is now one of the world's largest lumber providers with operations across North America and customers around the globe. Interfor has 3,000 employees, 18 mills and 50 years of experience serving global markets. In addition, they have an annual capacity of 3 billion board feet from world-class facilities.
The training program Interfor is launching is a 3-year millwright apprenticeship program to support career development at its sawmills across the southern United States. Millwrights install, maintain, repair and troubleshoot stationary industrial machinery and mechanical equipment in sawmills. Millwrights play a vital role in keeping our mills and equipment running efficiently so we can perform at our highest possible level. Twenty-seven Interfor employees were selected, which enabled them to earn while they learn without having to leave their homes and families for extended periods of time.
“Interfor is the largest lumber producer in the state of Georgia and its announcement shows they are investing not only in mills, but also in people and providing Georgians with great local jobs for today and tomorrow,” said Commissioner Pat Wilson, Georgia Department of Economic Development.
Interfor will deliver the program with the learning support of three partners: the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) will deliver the interactive theory component of the program; Georgia-based Charles Black & Associates will provide practical training in a classroom setting for the apprentices at the Central Georgia Technical College – Macon campus; and finally, a mentored on-the-job work experience throughout the entire 3 years will be provided.
The program is open to Interfor’s maintenance and production employees at its mills in Georgia, South Carolina and Arkansas. Upon completion, apprentices will receive a journey worker certificate. Training began June 5 with additional intakes once per year.
This program is Interfor’s first apprenticeship program registered with the United States Department of Labor. The company is working with state and local economic development offices to secure funding. They hope the success of the millwright program will expand apprenticeship training to other positions in the future.
FRA is proud to have Interfor as a member. We believe the millwright apprenticeship program will be very successful in bringing a wide variety of experts to the field.