LTCC Receives $1.2 Million to Support Forestry, Fire Programs

November 7, 2022

LTCC Forestry students learning outdoorsThe Forestry and Fire certificate and degree programs at Lake Tahoe Community College (LTCC) are now benefitting from $1.2 million in additional funding through a partnership with the Foundation for California Community Colleges. The $1.2 million will be used by LTCC to support key staffing additions and crucial equipment and apparatus purchases for both the Forestry and Fire programs to expand program capacities and ensure students have access to modern training equipment.

The Foundation received $21.5 million in total for 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. In addition to LTCC, four other California community colleges with fire and forestry-related programs also received funding, along with CSU Chico, the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the Sierra Business Council.

“This is a big piece of the funding puzzle needed at LTCC to educate the skilled workforce California needs to combat increasingly dangerous fire seasons, and especially in our region,” said LTCC Superintendent/President Jeff DeFranco.

The Foundation was one of 32 grant awardees given nationally as part of the $500 million Good Jobs Challenge, funded by President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan and administered by the U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration.

Keetha Mills, President of the Foundation for California Community Colleges, said, “This work is critical to help Californians access good jobs, especially as we help our state respond to the urgent needs of climate change and support economic growth in regions greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters.”

LTCC is part of a larger, four-year project to greatly increase the number of qualified workers placed into urgently needed jobs in California’s forestry sector, responding to critical needs to build economic and climate resilience in the state’s forested, rural communities.

California’s forestry and fire safety labor sectors have the potential to grow into a $39 billion industry. However, currently there are projected workforce shortages in the thousands in these areas. These jobs, which are often well-paying positions with benefits, include fire and forestry crew leads, conservation scientists, and U.S. Forest Service crew members, among other opportunities.

Locally, LTCC’s Forestry and Fire programs provide a pipeline of employment with CAL FIRE, the USDA Forest Service, the California Tahoe Conservancy, the Tahoe Resource Conservation District, private forestry contractors, and other agencies that are part of the Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team.

In addition to this funding from the Foundation, LTCC also was recently awarded with three private grants to support Forestry and Fire programs. LTCC was given a $100,000 grant from the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation’s Forest Futures program and $100,000 from the El Dorado Community Foundation to offset expensive equipment and gear costs for student-cadets in LTCC’s Lake Tahoe Basin Fire Academy.

LTCC also received $34,000 from the Tahoe Fund to create $1,000 scholarships for all students majoring in the Forestry program, which launched in Fall 2022. For information about LTCC’s Fire Academy and Fire Science programs, visit the Fire Academy webpage. For more detail about student scholarships and contact information for LTCC’s new Forestry program, visit the Forestry program homepage