The Tree Care Industry Association Foundation (TCIAF) and Stihl Inc. announced the winning schools of “Gear Up powered by Stihl,” an initiative supporting the future workforce of the industry by filling key equipment and training needs for students pursuing a career in arboriculture.

The following five winning colleges’ submissions went above and beyond:

  • Allegany College of Maryland, Cumberland, Md.
  • Clackamas Community College, Oregon City, Ore.
  • Huntley College of Agriculture, Pomona, Calif.
  • University of New Hampshire, Durham, N.H.
  • Southern University and A&M College, Baton Rouge, La.

The winning colleges were awarded $5,000 to put toward the purchase of Stihl equipment such as chain saws, brushcutters and personal protective apparel. To supplement the new gear, these schools will also receive a personalized training session from a Stihl Inc. representative.

“Although we’re only in our second year of Gear Up, we are once again impressed by all submissions,” said Dave White, Tree Care Industry Association’s president and CEO. “We are confident that these funds will improve the quality of education and provide in-depth learning opportunities for students in these programs.”

Colleges with arboriculture, forestry, horticulture and other related programs were encouraged to apply. All submissions were evaluated on a variety of criteria, including clear plans for growth and development of the program; diversity in location and student mix; level of detail in the application; and financial need.

“Investing in workforce development is critically important to the future of our industry, and Stihl Inc. is honored to partner with TCIAF to recognize and grow tree care educational programs around the country,” said Roger Phelps, Stihl Inc. corporate communications manager. “Through the Gear Up initiative, we’re helping equip students with the proper tools and training to develop the skills they need for their careers in arboriculture.”

This new program is part of a long-standing relationship between TCIAF, TCIA and Stihl Inc. in support of workforce development and industry training. Stihl Inc. is also a benefactor-supporter of the TCIAF Arborist Safety Training Institute, which currently operates more than 70 job and safety training workshops in nearly 30 states. As the exclusive sponsor of the Student Skills competition at the annual TCIA Student Career Days event, Stihl Inc. provides students enrolled in arboriculture industry-related programs with opportunities to learn from their peers, from experts in the field and even from renowned professionals like Stihl spokesperson, and professional arborist, Mark Chisholm.

Winners were announced at TCI EXPO 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pa., November 7-9, 2019.