As many tree care company owners all over the U.S. can attest to, the need for skilled workers has never been higher. This is certainly the case in Wisconsin, where the state’s tree care companies reported that there are plenty of jobs to be had, but not enough qualified people to apply. According to FOX6 News (Milwaukee), the state government recently got involved to help.
The result is the Wisconsin Arborist Registered Apprenticeship Program — a combination of on-the-job training and classroom work. “I have gotten to learn so much from where I started,” Mary Pederson, a participant in the program, told the news network.
Essentially, industry leaders asked the state for help due to a lack of skilled workers. “We can never get enough people,” Dave Scharfenberger, Wachtel Tree Science president, told FOX6. Scharfenberger — recently recognized for his impact on the industry by being named a “True Professional of Arboriculture” by the International Society of Arboriculture — was training apprentices in late September, trying to help the program grow.
“This is a way to get somebody their education in something they might have a passion for — working outside, climbing trees, being physical, working with the largest living organisms on earth,” he said.
To be an arborist apprentice under this program, an employer needs to sponsor the participant. The employer covers the cost of the program and the participant’s time is paid. The commitment is about 40 hours a week, and the apprenticeship program is scheduled to run for three-and-a-half years.