Urban forests encompass more than 70 million acres in the U.S. Skilled tree care workers are needed to help maintain the health of these trees. Approximately 150 college and vocational students from 18 schools across the country will convene in Charlotte, N.C., Nov. 14-16, to expand their knowledge and test their job skills at the Stihl-sponsored Tree Care Industry Association Foundation (TCIAF) Student Career Days and Student Skills Competition. Held in conjunction with TCI EXPO, TCIAF Student Career Days is a career development event for arboriculture, urban forestry and horticulture students.
“It is essential to invest in the next generation of tree care experts,” said Mark Chisholm, certified arborist, three-time international tree climbing champion and Stihl Inc. spokesperson. “It’s an honor to use my passion for climbing and competing to help students sharpen their skills and encourage them to learn through their personal experiences.” Chisholm will be onsite to share and demonstrate climbing tips.
Student Career Days offers training from industry leaders to get young professionals ready for the workforce. The Student Skills Competition, held Nov. 15 at Freedom Park, features the work climb, belayed scramble, and throwline competition events, as well as academic events, including safety gear check, and knowledge exam – all are essential skills used every day by tree care professionals. Volunteers from sponsor companies serve as judges for the competition, as well as provide instruction to students. Students competing in climbing events will have a chance to win a Stihl chain saw, which is a tool commonly used to prune and help maintain the health of trees. Winners of the competition will receive recognition at the awards ceremony.
“Student Career Days provides students with an opportunity to gain hands-on skills and build a solid foundation for a career in the tree care industry,” says Dawn Thierbach, TCIA Regional Outreach Coordinator – Great Lakes. “The contributions from Stihl and our other sponsors help us to cultivate young industry leaders.”
On Saturday, Nov. 16 students will meet tree care industry employers at the job and internship fair at the Charlotte Convention Center.
The sponsors of the 2013 event include Stihl Inc., Bartlett Tree Experts, The Davey Tree Expert Co., SavATree, Vermeer Corporation, Bandit Industries, Inc., Carolina Tree Care, International Society of Arboriculture and Schneider Tree Care.