Tree Care Sector Partnership and Registered Arborist Apprenticeship in Colorado, Part 1

The tree care season is in full swing. Many of us can barely find time to catch our breath let alone find time to sit down to read an entire article without our eyes feeling heavy and falling asleep.

So in the spirit of brevity I am going to make this direct as possible. If you haven’t heard, the career of Arborist has recently been recognized as a skilled trade in our fine nation by the federal government.

What does this mean for you?

  • If you run an organization that hires Arborists, Apprenticeship is a solid recruiting tool and training process to help you meet your workforce needs.
  • If you are a field Arborist it means that you now have the opportunity to be recognized as a Journeyworker and hold a certificate of completion from a Registered Apprenticeship Program.

Journeyworkers are Arborists that have completed at least 6000 hours of on the job training in the various skills required in the guidelines and related learning. They are able to train other apprentice candidates to become Journeyworker Arborists.

Why is this helpful and potentially powerful for our industry?

Many tree care companies and municipal forestry departments in our state experience how challenging it is to hire high quality entry level job candidates that are aligned with our industry and profession.

By offering entry level candidates the opportunity of Registered Apprenticeship we show them, and their parents in some cases, a career path and process to become a skilled, knowledgeable professional. All while earning a solid wage that increases with skills and abilities. At the end of the 3 year Apprenticeship they have a transportable credential that is recognized around the nation by organizations looking for employees to hire. Plus they will have zero college debt.

A group of us have been working together over the past several years as a Tree Care Sector Partnership. The Sector partnership is an industry group of private companies, municipal forestry departments and supporting organizations like ISA, TCIA the ALCC and the Colorado Community College System working together to positively impact the workforce issues that face all of us as Arborists. Registered Apprenticeship has been a big focus for our partnership and is an awesome opportunity for us. We hope to expand this program by engaging with tree care companies and municipalities across the state.

Currently our goals are to have 10 organizations offering registered apprenticeship and have a group of at least 15 registered Arborist apprentices. This will enable us to fill a class of related learning offered by Front Range Community College this winter. Related learning is required as part of completing the Arborist Apprenticeship program.

Do you want to offer Apprenticeship at your company or municipality? Are you curious or interested in this effort? Please join us for an upcoming meeting. We welcome your interest and your support. We are working to create opportunity for future Arborists and to help solve the workforce challenges of our industry.

For more info please reach out to our convenor Kate Strebe at cotreecarepartnership@gmail.com.

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