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WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Angus King (I-Maine), co-chairs of the Senate Working Forests Caucus, today introduced legislation to improve forest industry employment and participation through a grant program aimed at rural and underserved communities. The Jobs in the Woods Act would support developmental programs designed to better equip and train the forest products workforce for careers with the U.S. Forest Service and timber industries. Nationally, the forest products industry employs roughly 925,000 people directly and supports nearly 2 million jobs indirectly.

“Maintaining a robust and skilled forestry workforce is essential to Idaho’s forest and economic health,” said Risch. “The Jobs in the Woods Act will empower our rural communities to build up the timber workforce with educational and training programs to ensure Idaho continues to effectively manage our forests and prevent catastrophic wildfires for years to come.”

“Maine’s forestry industry has been foundational for our state economy for generations, and is critical to our continued economic success,” said King. “As the industry continues to evolve, we must ensure our forestry workforce has the proper training and skills to help responsibly manage our forests while growing our local economies. The bipartisan Jobs in the Woods Act will make substantial investments to support new and innovative workforce programs – helping Maine people get good, quality jobs and securing the future of our state’s timber industry.”

The Jobs in the Woods Act is cosponsored by Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.).

As members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Risch and King have been national leaders in efforts to support the forest products industry. This past April, Risch and King introduced a resolution to recognize the 151st Arbor Day. They also introduced the Future Logging Careers Act  to help train the next generation of loggers.

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