Congressman Fulcher Introduces Bill to Invest in Forest Management Workers, Students, Resources
Russ Fulcher Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Fulcher announced new legislation, the Forestry Education and Workforce Development Act. The bill, out of the Natural Resources Committee, will be compiled with several other pieces of legislation to form the Trillion Trees Act -- a comprehensive initiative from several Republican members to introduce as an alternative to the left’s "radical Green New Deal".
The Forestry Education and Workforce Development Act creates a $20 million discretionary grant program to be divided equally between land-grant colleges, universities, and technical/vocational schools to provide degrees or certificates in forestry and forestry-related fields. It also allows reforestation to be included in federal Job Corps programs.
Changes to the text of this act would allow for public, private, non-profit, and for-profit colleges and universities that offer accredited degrees recognized certificates, and accept dual enrollment students.
“In order to expand the breadth of our forestry workforce, we must invest in our education apparatus, which will return tenfold in stable jobs while preserving the natural beauty, ecology, economy, and culture of our state,” commented Congressman Fulcher. “The rural communities in my district are asking for the opportunity to return our state and federal forests to a healthy ecosystem. This investment in our educational system and workforce management is an investment in our future.”
“Catastrophic wildfires and years of poor forest management have made the need for reliable forestry workers all that much more important,” stated House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-AR). “As a licensed forester, I’ve seen firsthand how skilled workers can improve our forests nationwide and make them healthier and more resilient. It’s imperative that we train up the next generation in these skills, which is exactly what the Forestry Education and Workforce Development Act would do. I thank Congressman Fulcher for his leadership on this issue, and look forward to supporting this bill as it moves through the legislative process.”
“Forests are critical to Idaho’s future, and an educated forestry workforce is critical to sustaining our forests. Rep. Fulcher’s bill will help ensure that we can find workers with the skills and knowledge necessary to manage these important renewable resources, including our public forests,” added Tom Schultz, Vice President, Idaho Forest Group and President, Federal Forest Resource Coalition. “Ranking Member Fulcher’s bill also focuses on expanding reforestation, which is increasingly important as we work to restore our public forests in the wake of recent devastating wildfires. We look forward to working with him to secure passage of this important bill.”
Wendi Secrist, Executive Director of the Idaho Workforce Development Council commented, “Idaho’s forest products industry provides great opportunities for high-skill, high-wage jobs. The Workforce Development Council appreciates Congressman Fulcher’s foresight in championing funding to develop this workforce in partnership with our post-secondary institutions.”