Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Penn State Mont Alto Students Receive Valuable Training through Partnership with the Pennsylvania SFI Implementation Committee


In the past year the Pennsylvania Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Implementation Committee (SIC) has reached out to the future workforce at the high school and post-secondary level, getting students involved in training aimed at encouraging and helping them to enter careers in Pennsylvania’s forest products industry thorough collaborative MOU partnerships with the schools. The partnerships allow students to complete the core training requirements for the Pennsylvania SFI Professional Timber Harvester Training Program as part of their regular curriculum at no additional cost to them or the school. The training program is administered by the Pennsylvania SIC.

This spring marked the first class of Forest Technology students at Penn State’s Mont Alto Campus to receive their PA SFI training credential. The coursework they completed involves both classroom and hands on learning, and is the same training that many professional timber harvesters in Pennsylvania are required to complete. The training program emphasizes safety, environmental conservation, and professionalism. Students are taught proper chainsaw operation and felling practices, OSHA requirements for timber harvesting safety, and methods of protecting the environment during timber harvesting operations - including Best Management Practices (BMPs) for protecting water resources.

“Many of Penn State Mont Alto’s forest technology students are marking timber, working in harvesting operations, and applying sustainable forest management practices,” said Forest Technology Program Director Craig Houghton. "The PA SFI training credential provides an advantage in their summer jobs and future careers.”

Fourteen students enrolled in the Penn State Mont Alto Forest Technology program completed the training; Dakota Aldinger, Tyler Amspacher, Cody Behrens, Elizabeth Clark, Nicholas Grimm, Colton Groff, Austin Grove, Ronald Hartman, Lucas Markley, Cameron Murphy, Daniel Nace, Taylor Reneker, Swade Rotz II, and Kyle Williams.

The Pennsylvania SFI Professional Timber Harvester Training credential is widely recognized and well respected within Pennsylvania’s forest products industry. Having this training allows the students to graduate ahead of the game as they pursue careers in the industry. The Pennsylvania SIC hopes that through this training partnership and others like it that younger generations will continue to do just that.


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Central Mountain High School Students Benefit from Training Partnership with Pennsylvania SFI Implementation Committee


From left, John May (Natural Resources Management Program Instructor), Emery Watson, Cole Wheeler, Dylan Hinds, Chuck Coup (PA SIC Program Manager), Lou Sycz (KWPA Board Member and Comptroller/Lumber Sales Manager for Pine Creek Lumber Company). Not Pictured, Zachary Meyer.
For the second year in a row, students enrolled in the Natural Resource Management Career and Technical Program at Central Mountain High School in Mill Hall, PA received the Pennsylvania Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Professional Timber Harvester Training credential.

The training is provided through a partnership with the Pennsylvania SFI Implementation Committee (SIC) that allows students in the program to complete it as part of their regular curriculum at no additional cost to them or the school. Financial support for the training is provided by the Keystone Wood Products Association (KWPA), which strives to enhance the lumber and wood products manufacturers of Central Pennsylvania through promotion of career opportunities in the industry and other initiatives.

The training is the same that many professional loggers in Pennsylvania are required to complete, including those that cut commercial timber sales on state forestlands or on lands certified to the SFI standard. The training program emphasizes safety, environmental conservation, and professionalism. Students are taught proper chainsaw operation and felling practices, OSHA requirements for timber harvesting safety, and methods of protecting the environment during timber harvesting operations - including Best Management Practices (BMPs) for protecting water resources.

The Pennsylvania SIC hopes that through this partnership more students will become interested in pursuing a career in the forest products industry. By graduating with this training credential, these students come out ahead of the game as they enter the industry workforce. They already have the training that employers are looking for.

This year, four students completed the training; Dylan Hinds, Zachary Meyer, Emery Watson, and Cole Wheeler. Chuck Coup, Pennsylvania SIC Program Manager, presented the students with their official training records on June 3rd. Lou Sycz, KWPA board member and Comptroller/Lumber Sales Manager for Pine Creek Lumber Company in Mill Hall, PA spoke to the students about career opportunities in Pennsylvania's forest products industry. The students are set to graduate on June 11th.

The Natural Resource Management Program at Central Mountain High School dates back to 1985 when it was simply known as the Forestry Program. Since that time students have been learning how to manage forest resources and safely operate chainsaws and portable sawmills in a hands-on setting.

The Pennsylvania SFI Implementation Committee has been operating the statewide Professional Timber Harvester Training program since 1995. More than 7,000 individuals have participated in the training aimed at reducing logging accidents, increasing the productivity and professionalism of Pennsylvania’s loggers, and improving the sustainability of timber harvesting practices in the state.


(Read also about last year's class: http://pasfinews.blogspot.com/2014/06/high-school-students-participate-in.html)