PASSADUMKEAG – Graduates of Maine’s only college training program for operators of mechanized logging and forest trucking equipment will be recognized Thursday, Nov. 9 at the site where they have spent recent weeks completing the final, trucking stage of the program after months harvesting timber using sophisticated state-of-the-art machines like those they will encounter in the logging industry.
Students in the 20-week Mechanized Logging Operations and Forest Trucking Program (MLOFT) spent this summer and early fall harvesting timber at an active job site in Summit Township, gaining hands-on logging experience and benefiting from the guidance of veteran logging instructors for an educational experience that is unmatched by any other logger training program in Maine and neighboring states. Students then moved to Passadumkeag for more weeks of hands-on experience operating commercial trucks and gaining knowledge critical to forest trucking.
This year’s class is the seventh since the certificate program launched in 2017, and this is the first year to include a trucking component; the opportunity to earn a CDL-A permit and receive preparation for the state driving exam is a significant addition to the program thanks to a grant from the Harold Alfond Center of Advancement for Maine’s Workforce, and the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan through Maine Quality Centers funding.
The program, administered by Northern Maine Community College (NMCC), includes a strong emphasis on safety as well as giving students an understanding of the variables of timber growth, tree species, and markets. Students pay no tuition or fees, and the program provides all personal protective equipment (PPE).
The program was created in 2017 by three Maine community colleges, the Professional Logging Contractors (PLC) of Maine (now the Professional Logging Contractors of the Northeast), and industry partners. Dozens of graduates of the program currently work in the industry, and demand for additional logging and forest trucking operators in Maine is high and projected to remain so for the foreseeable future.
*DIRECTIONS TO THE SITE:
From Interstate 95 north or south take exit 217 and head east toward Howland/Lagrange on Rt. 155/6. Take the first exit at the roundabout and continue 1 mile, crossing the Piscataquis River, then turn right onto Rt. 2 and travel another 2.6 miles and Diamond Lumber Road will be on your right. Drive in 1.7 miles to Madden Timberlands and signs will direct you to the event.