PRESS RELEASE

Sierra Business Council Named Among 8 Grant Partners on $21.5 Million Good Jobs Challenge Award to Advance Forestry Careers

Jill Sanford

Jill Sanford

Communications Manager

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 12, 201

CONTACT

Jill Sanford, Communications Manager, jsanford@sierrabusiness.org, 530.582.4800 ext. 106

Sierra Business Council Named Among 8 Grant Partners on $21.5 Million Good Jobs Challenge Award to Advance Forestry Careers 

Truckee, Calif. – This week, Sierra Business Council’s partners at the Foundation for California Community Colleges (FoundationCCC) were announced as a recipient of one of 32 grants awarded as part of the $500 million Good Jobs Challenge funded by President Biden’s American Rescue Plan and administered by the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration. FoundationCCC received $21.5 million to support its “California Resilient Careers in Forestry” proposal, which will coordinate and expand forestry and fire-safety training programs in the Sierra Nevada and Cascade regions of northeastern California.

“California Resilient Careers in Forestry” is a direct response to the wildfire crisis that threatens communities across the state of California. In addition to the Foundation for California Community Colleges (FCCC), project partners include industry and leading educational institutions committed to scaling a statewide infrastructure for training in forest health and fire safety.

Sierra Business Council’s role is to act as a strategic partner to the effort, track public policies that will impact and accelerate the project goals, and implement roughly $750,000 to expand the Sierra Forest Entrepreneurs program, which was piloted in 2021 as a partnership envisioned by and previously delivered by Sierra Institute and Sierra Business Council. 

California faces a critical shortage of trained workers ready to achieve our goal of treating 1 million acres per year to restore forests and reduce the risk of wildfire. We need tens of thousands of new forest workers,” says Steve Frisch, president of Sierra Business Council. “The Good Jobs Challenge investment is a down payment on reducing the gap between the existing and needed capacity to make our communities safer and our forests better adapted to climate change. Sierra Business Council is proud to be part of this important work and committed to expanding on it in the future.” 

Funding will support a four-year project to help scale a system to place qualified workers into high-quality jobs in the forestry sector, responding to urgent needs to build economic and climate resilience in California’s forested, rural communities. Work will be conducted in partnership with five community colleges (Butte College, Feather River College, Lake Tahoe Community College, Reedley College, and Shasta College), California State University Chico, University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the Sierra Business Council. This group has proven experience delivering effective workforce training programs in partnership with industry and community. 

The ideation of this collaborative project is a result of a 2021 California Economic Summit workshop hosted by Sierra Business Council and the University of California Division of Agricultural and Natural Resources. 

The emerging forestry and fire safety sector has the potential to grow into a $39 billion industry. Yet there are currently projected shortages of thousands of workers for relevant well-paying jobs with benefits, including but not limited to fire and forestry crew leads, conservation scientists, and U.S. Forest Service crew members. By working to recruit, support, and train local communities in partnership with multiple Hispanic-serving institutions, Indigenous-led partners, and other community-based organizations, the project will expand the industry’s talent pool while simultaneously diversifying the field.

Sierra Business Council notes that this project will complement the necessary and already established work happening in the region around forestry workforce development, including the programs led by Columbia College in Sonora and envisioned at Cerro Coso Community College .

About Sierra Business Council 

Sierra Business Council (SBC) catalyzes innovative approaches to increase community vitality, economic prosperity, environmental quality, and social fairness in the Sierra Nevada. More information on SBC’s impact can be found at www.sierrabusiness.org.

About the Foundation for California Community Colleges

The Foundation for California Community Colleges is the official nonprofit foundation to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors and Chancellor’s Office. The Foundation’s mission is to benefit, support, and enhance the missions of the California Community Colleges system, the largest higher education system in the nation. Incorporated in 1998, the Foundation works to benefit all California Community College students, colleges, college foundations, and the system as a whole by accelerating paths to economic and social mobility, strengthening communities, and reducing barriers to opportunities for all Californians. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit organization. For more information, visit www.foundationccc.org.

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