College of the Sequoias in Visalia offering free training for career as arborist

The hands-on class is at no cost to trainees and covers the best practices, skills and knowledge needed for the job.
VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- A South Valley college is offering an exciting career opportunity to anyone interested in being an arborist. College of the Sequoias is partnering with PG&E to make the program happen.

Larry Abernathy with the Utility Arborist Association recalls the devastation left behind by the California wildfires last fall and says there simply wasn't enough manpower to keep up and manage the forest that turned into fuel for those flames.

"When the fires occurred, there was a great shortage of workers, and they were bringing people from out of state to fill the need," said Abernathy, "and even that wasn't enough at the time."

That's why PG&E is funding this five-week program to prepare trainees for a career as an arborist.

"They can then work out in the field clearing brush, vegetation, trimming trees along power lines," explained Jorge Zegarra, director of the Training Resource Center.

The class will meet in person for eight hours a day, five days a week.

"We're really trying to train what an arborist would learn in their first six months on the job," continued Abernathy, "so they get a really intense amount of training. Most of us never had this."

The hands-on class is at no cost to trainees and covers the best practices, skills and knowledge needed for the job.

"It isn't just sitting in a classroom all day for 200 hours," added Abernathy. "They are actually in the trees learning how to climb into the trees safely."

The first cohort kicks off next week. The staff is already setting dates for the next two cohorts. If you're interested in applying click here.
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