CRAFTSBURY COMMON -- Veterans face significant challenges in entering the civilian workforce, especially in natural resource based businesses. Both unemployment and underemployment remain high among New England's veterans. To help solve this issue, Sterling College is offering a comprehensive certificate program in low impact forestry that will teach woodlot management from an ecological perspective.

"Sterling College is honored to be able to support veterans, and is committed to helping them achieve their educational and career goals," said President Matthew Derr. "We look forward to working with veterans as they learn to manage woodlots sustainability, while giving them the tools they need to enter the forestry business sector and become environmental stewards."

The certificate consists of four hands-on sessions taught throughout 2015 and 2016; two of those sessions are each one week long, and the second two will be completed over two weekends. Veterans will learn chainsaw safety and productivity, basic business skills and USDA compliance, draft horse management, tractor skills and more.

Those who enroll in the course will be taught by practitioner faculty with extensive sustainable agriculture and forestry experience on the Sterling College campus. The College's Rian Fried Center for Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems has nearly 400 acres of forested land. The Center also includes the Alfond Draft Horse Barn, hoop houses, and a sugar house for maple syrup production. All work is guided by a forest management plan and written by a forester.

As part of the certification process, students will also have the opportunity to complete a job shadowing session with professional loggers and woodlot managers throughout New England.

"It is critical that New England ensure that veterans have the opportunity to find fulfilling employment, as well as continued development and growth opportunities," said Derr. "We look forward to welcoming more veterans on our campus to learn sustainable forestry."

There is a fee for the certificate. All meals are included; however, participants are responsible for their own housing. Scholarships are available for veterans and veterans' benefits may apply. The course is limited to 10 students, so early application is encouraged. For more information, visit http://www.sterlingcollege.edu/academics/forestry-for-veterans-certificate.

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