Good Jobs Challenge

Developing Resilient Careers in Forestry for Californians.

California’s forested, rural areas have been dramatically affected by climate change, which has fueled record-breaking wildfires that destroyed multiple communities and burned 2.5 million acres in 2021. 

The emerging forestry and fire safety sector has the potential to grow into a $39 billion industry while protecting communities, landscapes and natural carbon stores in forests. Yet there are shortages of thousands of workers in 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. Expanding resilient careers in forestry requires innovation in how workforce training programs recruit and support career-seekers and how they interact with industry. 

In response to the urgent need for skilled workers, the US Economic Development Administration has awarded the Foundation for California Community Colleges a $21.5 million grant to support its “California Resilient Careers in Forestry” proposal. The award is part of the Good Jobs Challenge, funded by President Biden’s American Rescue Plan and administered by the Commerce Department. 

Funding will support a four-year project to scale a system for training and placing qualified workers into high-quality jobs in the forestry and fire safety sector.  These job placements will respond to critical needs that build economic and climate resilience in California’s forested, rural communities. 

By working to recruit, support and train local residents  in partnership with multiple Hispanic-serving institutions, Indigenous-led partners and other community-based organizations, the project will expand the industry’s talent pool and diversify the field.


Work to expand forestry and fire-safety training programs will take place in the Sierra Nevada and Cascade regions of northeastern California in partnership with five California 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 California Resilient Careers in Forestry project was selected from a pool of over 500 applicants and is one of two grants awarded in California. The 32 grantees awarded are focused on diversifying the workforce in their respective industries, and will serve and support historically underrepresented populations to help communities recover with equity. 

Learn more about the Good Jobs Challenge > 

Contact Us

Climate Strategies
Jeffrey Clary
Sr. Director, Climate Strategies

Workforce Development
Tim Aldinger
Executive Director of Workforce Development

Courtney Cagle
Manager, Good Jobs Challenge - Resilient Careers in Forestry


Good Jobs Challenge - American Rescue Plan | U.S. Economic Development  Administration





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