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Updated: November 13, 2023

Newly trained workers set to join Maine's $582M logging industry

loggers ceremony Courtesy / Professional Logging Contractors of the Northeast Graduates of Maine’s only college training program for operators of mechanized logging and forest trucking equipment were recognized Nov. 9 at the site where they have spent recent weeks completing the final stage of the program.

A dozen skilled loggers are about to join Maine's half-billion-dollar logging industry after graduating from a five-month training program.

As in the program's previous years, the majority of students have jobs waiting, since demand for both drivers and logging operators continues to exceed supply.

In the Northeast, logging provides rural jobs and revenue for local and state governments as well as state and national forests. In Maine, the industry contributed an estimated $582 million to the state's economy in 2021.

“Our intent with this program is to combine generational wisdom,” Will Cole, president of the Professional Logging Contractors of the Northeast, told graduates last week at the ceremony in the Penobscot County town of Passadumkeag.

The event was held at the site where students completed the program's final stage, which focused on trucking, after learning to harvest timber using sophisticated machinery.

“Treasure what you’ve been taught, master it and then start injecting some modern-day common sense into the process," Cole added. "Our industry needs young innovation to expose the obvious that this generation might have missed.”

The 2023 graduates are: Jarrett Dubord of Windsor; Dave Elvers of Lincoln; Caden Foster of Houlton; Cole Gagnon of Hampden; Lucas Gustin of Corinth; Dylan Hooper of Blue Hill; Adam Meng of New Sharon; Dominick Olsen of Charleston; Lauren Robinson of Guilford; Tobias Sarrio of Hancock; Cole Sillanpaa of Industry; and Arthur Unobskey of Brewer.

The program was launched in 2017 by three Maine community colleges, Professional Logging Contractors of Maine (which recently changed its name to Professional Logging Contractors of the Northeast) and industry partners.

Dozens of graduates currently work in the industry, and demand for additional logging and forest trucking operators in Maine is projected to remain high for the foreseeable future.

Driving change

This year’s class was the first to have the opportunity to earn a CDL-A permit and receive preparation for the state driving exam, thanks to funding from the Harold Alfond Center of Advancement for Maine’s Workforce and the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan through Maine Quality Centers funding.

“Our members and employers in this industry across the state are looking for cross-trained operators who can efficiently haul timber, haul equipment,and operate the equipment needed to harvest wood,” said Dana Doran, executive director of the Professional Logging Contractors of the Northeast. “This program offers the best comprehensive preparation for the industry available in the country today.”

The program is administered by Northern Maine Community College and aims to give students a grounding in safety as well as timber growth, tree species and markets. 

Students pay no tuition or fees, and the program provides all personal protective equipment and scholarships from Skowhegan Savings Bank to assist with living expenses.

In 2024, the program is expected to begin in April. Central Maine will host two cohorts during the year.

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