PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — A program that trains loggers in northern Maine has received $1 million in federal funding to expand.
Democratic Rep. Jared Golden said Thursday the Mechanized Logging Operations Training Program that Northern Maine Community College runs has received the money. Golden submitted the proposal as a Community Project Funding request on behalf of the East Millinocket Fire Department.
The funding will allow the college to expand the program, Golden said. It trains students to operate harvesting equipment and offers training for graduates to earn a commercial driver's license, he said.
Golden said expanding the program is "key to addressing the workforce shortage in our logging industry and will help more Mainers to get good-paying jobs that allow them to stay in rural communities across our state.”
Tim Crowley, president of NMCC, expressed his gratitude about the funding designated for the expansion of the training program in a news release.
"This project will allow us to continue our work with the forest industry in Maine to build the workforce they need for today and the future, grow the program's footprint, and serve more Mainers looking for good-paying jobs in the woods," Crowley said.
The Mechanized Logging Operations Training Program was established in 2016 with bipartisan and industry support, the release stated. More than 50 people graduated from the program within its first four years, and many of the participants had jobs lined up upon graduation.
"There is no more affordable or efficient way to gain the experience and knowledge you need to begin a successful career as an equipment operator in the logging industry," Dana Doran, executive director of the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine, said in the news release.