There Is an Urban Forestry Workforce Crisis 

Planting and caring for trees is a business that requires skilled workers — people who know how to properly plant and water trees, climb them so they can be pruned, care for their health and more. But there is a labor shortage in the tree industry. There is an annual need for approximately 8,300 tree-industry workers nationwide. There are jobs available for urban foresters, arborists, tree trimmers, pruners and pesticide applicators. On top of that, there are more than 158,900 annual job openings in the landscaping industry.

At the same time, communities with the fewest trees tend to be low-income communities of color with high rates of unemployment. Tree care employers face challenges training and retaining residents in these communities, who often face barriers to employment. Ideally, tree workers work where they live, but tree-related career job training and placement in these communities hasn’t kept pace with demand.

Tree Equity: Career Pathways Initiative Seeks to Close the Gap

The Tree Equity: Career Pathways Initiative connects people to tree industry careers and helps employers find qualified workers. Many of the program’s participants are unemployed or underemployed, and come from the communities that benefit most from increased urban tree cover.

The initiative prepares a diverse, thriving workforce to build and sustain economic strength and vibrant, green communities.

Entry-level tree trimmers and pruners in the U.S. can begin their careers at a good salary: an annual wage of $44,040 and a median hourly wage of $21.48, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Additionally, 25% of entry-level workers in the sector are self-employed, opening the door to entrepreneurship.

Urban Forestry Job Training Programs

We have created a map to help you find forestry job training programs near you. Click on any green or blue dot to learn more. Don’t see your program? Email us to get your program on the map.