Timber harvesting course starts June 3 at Huey P. Long Technical College in Winn

The Huey P. Long campus of the Central Louisiana Technical and Community College is taking applications for a new training program to prepare students for work in the forest products industry.

The new date for the start of the class is June 3. Students who enroll will be trained to operate timber harvesting equipment and will complete required certifications that employers are looking for.

The equipment used to harvest timber has become safer, but more complex. New operators generally take four to six months to become proficient, impacting the production of the job and the supervisor's time. A graduate of the Timber Harvesting Equipment Operator (THEO) program would be a valuable asset to any operation, and should be quickly hired. Starting salary range is $27,000 - $32,000 annually.

The first eight weeks of the training will be classroom instruction in the evenings at the Huey P. Long campus Monday to Thursday from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. June 3 through July 25. Students will receive instruction on the OSHA 10-Hour, as well as CPR/First Aid and Master Logger certifications. They will also learn basic welding and receive financial management instruction.

The second eight weeks will begin July 29 and will be hands-on operation of timber harvesting equipment. Classes will be Monday-Friday 7:00 to 3:30. Manufacturers' representatives will show students how to service and maintain the equipment. Instructors will demonstrate how to operate a skidder, loader and feller-buncher; then students will have a chance to learn the skills needed to safely cut and remove timber.

Students must be 18 years old to operate equipment, and must pass a random drug test.

Tuition is $960 and all safety equipment will be supplied by the Instructors. Students must purchase their own steel-toed boots for the field instruction. Sponsorships are available.

Students should contact the Huey P. Long Winnfield campus at 628-4342 Ext 5017. Timber harvesters who are interested in hiring graduates of the program should contact Louisiana Logging Council President Lowell Hubbard, at www.laforestry.com .