COLUMBUS, OH — The Ohio Division of Forestry is currently accepting applications for the first class of 132 jobs that will be available as part of the newly created Ohio Woodlands Job Corps, made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Corps members will work 1,000 hours and gain work experience and woodcraft training at one of seven state forests. Corps members will remove invasive species on state forests, learn how to fight wildfires and receive extensive training and certification.
Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland said the stimulus dollars used to fund the job program is a wise investment and will improve both the forests and the state economy.
The Ohio Woodlands Job Corps is scheduled to start 11, six-person crews working and training at seven separate state forests beginning Sept. 14.
The headquarters for these crews include: Blue Rock (Muskingum County), Hocking (Hocking County), Maumee (Fulton, Henry and Lucas Counties), Pike (Highland and Pike Counties), Scioto Trail (Ross and Pike Counties), Shawnee (Adams and Scioto Counties) and Zaleski (Athens and Vinton Counties) State Forests.
Ohio State University Extension and Hocking College are partners in the training component of the program.
Four of the 25 total weeks of employment for corps members will be spent training in how to fight wildfires, safely and properly use chainsaws, identify invasive and native tree species, and on logging best management practices.
On a forest resource level, participants will spend a majority of their time removing woody invasive plant species from state forestlands. The presence of these exotic invasive plants, such as bush honeysuckle and Tree of Heaven, suppresses native understory species and is detrimental to healthy woodlands.
In addition to removing invasive species, the crews will also assist with forest inventory work, timber stand improvement activities, trails maintenance and tree planting activities.
As an affiliate of Americorps through The Corps Network, corps members will be eligible to receive up to $2,300 toward their college education.