Logger training course starting at H.P. Long

The Huey P. Long campus of the Central Louisiana Technical & 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 August 19. 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 4-6 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.

Support for the program has come from Plum Creek Foundation and the Delta Regional Authority, as well as local businesses and logging contractors. "Plum Creek recognizes the importance of creating stable jobs in rural communities," said Matt Sutton, resource supervisor for Plum Creek in the Winn District. "We are proud to play an important role to help workers qualify for employment in their local communities, improving their overall quality of life.

Students will have 8 weeks of classroom instruction Tuesday through Thursday evenings from 5:00 - 8:00 p.m. They will receive instruction on OSHA 10-Hour, as well as CPR/First Aid and Master Logger certifications. They will also learn basic mechanical troubleshooting and receive financial management instruction.

The field training will be hands-on operation of timber harvesting equipment provided by John Deere, Inc. Classes will be Monday-Thursday 7:00 - 3:30, with half the students coming on Monday and Wednesday and the other half coming Tuesday and Thursday. 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 $1500 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 the Louisiana Logging Council www.laforestry.com/site/AboutLFA/LaLoggingCouncil.