COS training helps arborists branch off into the workforce

Trainees are being certified to trim trees through COS program, with 300 arborist jobs available in Tulare County alone

VISALIA – COS gave future tree trimmers a chance to climb to the top and jumpstart their career with a new training program.

The College of the Sequoias’ Training Resource Center (TRC) is now accepting applicants for the Utility Line Clearance Arborist Training, which certifies participants to trim trees that are too close to electrical lines. The training program is sponsored by PG&E to help alleviate the worker shortage that the industry is facing. Many of the students are encouraged to apply after they complete the certificate. 

“I found myself in various jobs that were not ideal for me or my family. I came across this training and realized that this is where I want to build my career,” former student and trainer assistant Nicholas Romero stated. “I look forward to a long career where what I’ve learned can keep workers safe, grow in the industry, and build a future for my family.”

PG&E projects that 300 jobs will be available for line clearance arborists in Tulare County alone, with over 3,000 jobs available in California. Trainees are encouraged to apply for union employers like PG&E, and are expected to make $31 an hour, according to the press release from TRC. To help locals complete the training, the TRC is offering a $3,000 stipend to those who complete certificate training. The funding comes from the UVM Scholarship Program

“This kick-start program leads to a reduction of on-the-job training -time requirements, higher production rates, lower incident rates and higher employee retention,” TRC stated in the press release.

The course is only five weeks long and offers 200 hours in hands-on, in-field experience. The quick turnaround time for trainees will allow them to get a head start on job applications, and will also toss them into a job market that is facing an unprecedented shortage, according to the press release. The TRC brought on its very first arborist cohort to the training program in January 2021. Romero was among those who trained in the first cohort. Since then, the program has hit its 10th cohort this year on Sept. 22, and is now accepting applications for the spring of 2023. 

“I get to step into the industry with knowledge that isn’t always so thoroughly covered in the field,” Romero stated. “Assisting with the classes allows me to deepen my knowledge and understanding of the industry and provide my help where it is needed.”

The training will not only certify participants in tree clearance, but will also give participants an OSHA 10 Certificate, an American Heart Association, Heartsaver First aid and CPR certificate and a National Safety Council Flagger certificate.

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