Training The Next Forestry Industry Specialists

Did you know that forest products provide 24 billion dollars to Wisconsin’s economy? Or that Forestry is the number 1 employer in 8 Wisconsin counties? These are important facts that highlight the value of timber to Wisconsin.

To support the industry, skilled workers are needed. One college that is devoted to educating the necessary workforce is Northcentral Technical College in Antigo. Logan Wells is the Wood Science Instructor at the Wood Technology Center of Excellence. There, they have state of the art equipment and courses that teach the career skills needed for the forestry supply chain.

“From the moment the tree is cut all the way to making finished products, we go over all the skills and steps needed in that process,” states Wells. There are several program options for students. There is a two year associate degree, a one year technical diploma, and then certificates for a specific area of the industry.

Class sizes are on the smaller side since the industry is very specialized. Currently, there are six students pursuing the associate degree. There are also six pursuing various certificates. Wells would like to see at least twelve students for the associate degree and twelve for the technical diploma.

Wells is seeing growth over his last several years with the program. “We’re starting to get the message out that there’s a lot of great careers in the trades. Just to understand that being able to work with your hands, and troubleshoot, and step right into industry after a shorter amount of schooling is a great route for a lot of people,” said Wells.