The Oregon wood-products industry is ready to grow, and Timber Products is looking for hard workers and eager learners at all experience levels ready to support that growth. The Oregon Employment Department predicts as many as 2,900 people could be invited to fill new positions and replace retiring employees in the next few years, which is one reason Timber Products places a priority on ongoing training and education.
That education emphasis is particularly important as the wood product manufacturing industry continues to evolve. While the timber industry will always be a home for individuals who love to spend their days working outside, both forestry and mill-specific roles are becoming more technical in nature and demanding workers are adept at using technology. In fact, Timber Products is finding that the deployment of high-tech new millworking solutions is driving job growth by creating new positions demanding new skillsets.
Because the skillsets in need are frequently changing, Timber Products puts a priority on on-the-job learning. For example, an entry-level laborer at the particle board mill can expect to learn to operate a variety of machinery and equipment and can ultimately use skills gained in this position as a launch pad for training for a quality control or supervisory role.
With training as a core part of our workforce growth initiative, Timber Products supports third-party organizations such as the Woodwork Career Alliance (WCA) in developing the next generation of woodworkers. WCA provides certification and training for new and current woodworking professionals, with a focus on students in high school and post-secondary training. WCA-credentialed woodworkers have proven achievement of specific skill standards, giving them valuable working knowledge ready for a place in the wood manufacturing industry.
In addition, the Hardwood Manufacturers Association has just launched its Hardwood Manufacturers Certificate Program, a 16-week course that can help guide current woodworkers to new roles in process control or supervision, among other examples. This program ensures certificate holders have the skills necessary to not only identify hardwood species but also apply basic lumber inspection grading rules, as well as breakdown logs and edge lumber; scale, grade and value hardwood logs; and operate certain machinery necessary for the trade.
And for those who simply love to be outdoors, Timber Products works closely with local university forestry programs to give future applicants the skills they’ll need to sustainably manage an ecosystem.
Data shows that the wood-product manufacturing industry represents $1.1 billion in total payroll in Oregon. Are you ready to be part of it?