On January 30, 2020 Shasta College received word that they were being awarded a $1.8 million grant from the CAL FIRE Forest Health Grant Program to support and expand the successful Heavy Equipment Logging Operations (HELO) program at the college. This grant award will enable Shasta College to add two log trucks and three trailers to their truck driving program, along with two professional skills coaches, which is a key component of the sustainability for the HELO certificate program. Other equipment and supplies that are planned as part of this grant award are a masticator, dump truck, water tender, firewood processing head, two service trucks, associated fuel, supplies, consumables and repairs.
Shasta College instructors John Livingston and Rick Boontjer will be earning their Licensed Timber Operator (LTO) status in spring 2020. Once completed, Shasta College will operate as an LTO and will generate revenue by delivering logs to sawmills. Shasta College will also incorporate their truck driving students into this process, providing real-world log truck driving experience. This process will add to the revenue stream of the college’s program by qualifying for transport payments at the time of log delivery. The revenue generated will be used to offset costs associated with fuel, consumables, and repairs.
Superintendent and President, Dr. Joe Wyse, commented on the team’s success at being awarded this grant, “The HELO program is another great example of our staff, faculty and industry partners working together to develop innovative solutions to our workforce needs. Because of this grant we will be able to expand on the success of our HELO program and provide graduates who are work-ready on day one of graduation, trained in modern, advanced forestry management skills. I am proud of the efforts of everyone involved who worked to make this program a model across the state.”
Shasta College instructor John Livingston was elated upon news of the award and had this to say, “This program provides our students with living wage careers and aids our industry partners at a time when the current workforce is ageing out. The increased use of modern technology in this industry and the innovative application of that technology appeals to students ranging from 19-34 years old, which is critical to building a sustainable workforce for decades to come.”
In addition to mechanized logging equipment training, Shasta College has implemented classroom curricula that provides a foundational understanding of the impact of healthy land management and logging on the entire landscape. This knowledge results in operators demonstrating a broader understanding of how sustainable forest management provides long- term global, societal and community benefits.
Shasta College students will have the opportunity to conduct various forest management and natural resources activities on land owned by program partner, Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI). This growing program includes a student-involved reforestation project that engages Shasta College Forestry, Natural Resources, and Agricultural students in forest and watershed restoration work on forestlands impacted by the Shasta County 2018 fires.
Ted James, the SPI Forestry District Manager who is coordinating access to the company’s timberland, said, “This program utilizes timberlands as a unique ‘outdoor classroom’ for student learning as they explore careers in the sustainable forest products industry.”
The CAL FIRE Forest Health Grant for the HELO Certificate Program aligns on-site land management education and training with tomorrow’s workforce. With priority fuel reduction projects underway across the state, this program is dedicated to meeting the demands for vegetation and land management professionals required to maintain the work that has been completed in an effort to protect rural communities. This funding will greatly benefit our region, while continuing to engage the emerging workforce and industry partners in the forest products sector.
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Shasta College Heavy Equipment Logging Operations (HELO) is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing GHG emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment– particularly in disadvantaged communities. The Cap-and-Trade program also creates a financial incentive for industries to invest in clean technologies and develop innovative ways to reduce pollution. California Climate Investments projects include affordable housing, renewable energy, public transportation, zero-emission vehicles, environmental restoration, more sustainable agriculture, recycling, and much more. At least 35 percent of these investments are located within and benefiting residents of disadvantaged communities, low-income communities, and low-income households across California. For more information, visit the California Climate Investments website at: www.caclimateinvestments.ca.gov.
Shasta College is a community college and the only public post-secondary institution in a 10,132 square mile, three county area (Shasta, Tehama, and Trinity Counties) in rural far-northern California. Serving over 13,600 students the District has two campuses in Redding, a campus in Tehama, Weaverville and one in Burney in addition to its many online courses and programs. Shasta College offers certificates, Associate Degrees, transfer options, and a completely online Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management. Shasta College has been honored to receive numerous grants for innovative programs that have led to the continued success of the students and communities served. In November 2016 the voters in the communities Shasta College serves voted in a $139 million general obligation bond, Measure H.