VFA Virginia Forests Winter 2023

WINTER 2023 15 Hands-On Training and Regional Workforce Development are “Gateway” to Success Located in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, Mountain Gateway Community College (MGCC) provides unmatched forestry training. Small class sizes provide individualized attention and hands-on instruction from trained professionals. Our graduates become field-ready forest resource technicians prepared for all forest management and arboriculture career sectors. For over 50 years, MGCC has prepared students to work in the forest management, land surveying, sawmill operations, timber harvesting, urban forestry, wildland firefighting, wildlife management, and more. Our alumni can be found across the U.S. and around the world making a difference in the health and management of our valuable natural resources. MGCC students can earn an associate’s degree in Applied Science in Forest Management Technology or AAS in Forest Management Technology with a specialization in Arboriculture & Community Forestry. These degrees also include several industry- and government-recognized credentials. Career studies certificates in Wilderness Emergency Management are also offered at the college. In addition to its degree and certificate programs, MGCC leads the regional Appalachian Hardwood Training Initiative (AHTI), a workforce development program funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to develop educational and training opportunities to close skills gaps in the forest products industry across the ARC region. Based on an industry survey conducted in 2020, AHTI aims to improve the industry over three years by increasing employer engagement through workforce development partnerships, developing industry-focused curricula, growing industry attractiveness jobseekers, and serving up to 950 individuals through 1,800 enrollments in initial and follow-on training. By Scott Reigel and Billy Newman “All of the embedded credentials and real-world education is what gave me the lead over other applicants for this full-time position with Weyerhaeuser.” – Adam Tygrett, ’18