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Employ an Apprentice

The Openlands Registered Apprenticeship Program (2021-IL-81294) is a 3-year, Department of Labor approved program to provide an accessible career pathway for aspiring tree professionals of all backgrounds.

Openlands screens, interviews, and hires individuals interested in creating a career in the tree care industry and provides them with an arboriculture background with their first year of On The Job Training and Related Instruction hours.

After completing one year of hands-on and classroom training with Openlands, Apprentices are transferred to a Secondary Employer, where they will join a tree care team to continue to perform on the job training at client sites and refine their knowledge and skills with more advanced, industry and employer specific classroom training.

Throughout the program, Openlands acts as the program sponsor and will work with Apprentices and Secondary Employers to complete any necessary administrative or reporting needs.

At the completion of the program, the Apprentice will receive program certification from the Department of Labor and in most cases be eligible to sit for the ISA Arborist exam, and if desired from both the Secondary Employer and Apprentice, continue employment at the Secondary Employer’s organization.

Benefits of Hosting an Apprentice

  • Receive tax credits and financial training support
  • Cost savings: 94% of individuals that complete apprenticeship programs remain employed
  • Hire a better employee: Apprentices will have one full year of hands on and classroom training and other industry specific credentials
  • Greater business opportunities: Increase your business’ audience, advertise your participation in the program and be more competitive in contracts/bids.

What Employers Can Expect

On the Job Training (OJT)- OJT hours are acquired through performing work or job tasks. Apprentices will need to demonstrate competencies in each of these categories to complete the program.

  • Adhere to ANSI and employer safety standards for all work.
  • Identify common trees and shrubs in the employer’s region
  • Perform rigging on the ground and aloft
  • Access trees safely
  • Operate a chainsaw on the ground and aloft, and perform field maintenance
  • Operate a chipper
  • Prune trees and shrubs from the ground and aloft, according to ANSI A300
  • Remove trees and shrubs
  • Operate vehicles with or without trailer
  • Operate aerial lifts
  • Operate stump grinder
  • Participate in responses to storms and disasters

Related Instruction and Classroom Learning

Formal/informal classroom hours are gained through in person learning, readings, and training opportunities.

Year 1

  • Arborist Skills 1 & Openlands Certified TreeKeepers Course
  • Tree and Shrub Identification
  • Arborist Equipment Fundamentals
  • Introduction to Climbing
  • Arborist Skills 2
  • First Aid/CPR certification
  • Preparation for Commercial Learner’s Permit written test
  • Preparation for State Pesticide Applicator Exam
  • Teamwork and Leadership Development

Year 2 & 3

  • Rigging and Tree Removal Fundamentals
  • Applied Aerial Work
  • Arborist Skills 3
  • Advanced Rigging and Tree Felling with Field Skill Building
  • Plant Health Care Treatments
  • Transition to Leader

Wage schedule

Apprentice wages follow a set increase each 6 months, reflecting increased knowledge and technical skills.

  • First 6 months:  $16
  • Second 6 months: $17
  • Third 6 months: $18
  • Fourth 6 months: $19
  • Fifth 6 months: $20
  • Last 6 months: $21

Apply to become a secondary employer. Fill out this form to see if your business qualifies through the Openlands Arborist Registered Apprenticeship.