COLUMBUS, OH –Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director Sean D. Logan announced today that ODNR’s Division of Forestry is currently accepting applications for the Ohio Woodlands Job Corps, made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The second round of this conservation skills training and service program will employ at least 70 individuals who are interested in working as part of Ohio’s $15 billion wood industry, or as conservation workers for metroparks, national forests or nonprofit land management organizations.
Corps members will work a total of 1,000 hours and gain work experience and woodcraft training at one of nine state forests. Corpsmembers will remove invasive species on state forests, learn how to fight wildfires and receive extensive training and technical certifications. The conservation worker positions pay $13.43 per hour.
“The response to the Ohio Woodlands Job Corps from the wood industry, forest landowners and current corpsmembers has been extremely positive,” said Director Logan. “The benefits derived from these efforts will last long beyond the training period of each corpsmember.”
The Ohio Division of Forestry will employ 14 five-person crews working and training at nine separate state forests beginning June 21. The headquarters for these crews include: Blue Rock State Forest in Muskingum County; Fernwood State Forest in Jefferson County; Hocking State Forest in Hocking County; Maumee State Forest in Fulton, Henry and Lucas counties; Mohican-Memorial State Forest in Ashland County; Pike State Forest in Highland and Pike counties; Scioto Trail State Forest in Ross and Pike counties; Shawnee State Forest in Adams and Scioto counties; and Zaleski State Forest in Athens and Vinton counties.
“While employment of Ohioans is a crucial component of this program, it also gives participants a unique educational opportunity, which draws on the expertise of state forestry staff, Ohio’s wood industry, OSU Extension and Hocking College,” said Director Logan. “This program will provide valuable training and real world learning experience for corpsmembers interested in making a career in Ohio’s wood industry, which directly employs 119,000 people.”
Both The Ohio State University and Hocking College are partners in the training component of this program. Four of the 25 total weeks of employment for corpsmembers will be spent on extensive safety training, commercial pesticide application, wildfire fighting, the proper use of chainsaws, identifying invasive and native tree species, and learning best management practices for logging.
To aid in forest management, participants will spend a majority of their time removing woody invasive plant species from state forestlands. Exotic invasive plants, such as bush honeysuckle and tree-of-heaven, suppresses native understory species and is detrimental to healthy woodlands. In addition to removing invasive species, the crews will also assist with forest inventory work, timber stand improvement activities, trails maintenance and tree planting activities.
As an affiliate of Americorps through The Corps Network, corps members will be eligible to receive up to $2,300 towards their college education. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds are provided to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources through the USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry.
To apply for jobs through the Ohio Woodlands Job Corps visit ohiodnr.gov/forestry or ohiomeansjobs.com. The deadline for application is April 9. A background check is required for all successful applicants.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR web site at www.ohiodnr.com.