Maine’s only post-secondary mechanized logging training program will graduate its second class, of eight students, later this week.

Friday’s commencement ceremony will take place in the woods southeast of Ashland, where the group spent weeks harvesting timber using sophisticated, state-of-the-art equipment like those used in industry today, including feller-bunchers and harvesters. The course runs for 12 weeks, and there is none like it in Maine or neighboring states. Six students attended and graduated from last summer’s inaugural session, which was held in Millinocket.

The Professional Logging Contractors of Maine jointly developed the program with Northern Maine Community College, Eastern Maine Community College and Washington County Community College, with support from industry partners including Milton CAT/CAT Forest Products and Nordtrax Inc./John Deere.

“This program could not have come at a better time for Maine’s logging industry and these graduates, Dana Doran, executive director of the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine, told Mainebiz via email. “Demand for operators of mechanized logging equipment exceeds supply, and job prospects for these graduates are bright as the industry rebounds in a strong economy.”

He also noted that that 2017 graduates were all hired before finishing the program, and that demand has only increased since then.

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