Logging industry seeks out young blood at Eugene's Logging Conference


EUGENE, Ore. - The Lane County Events Center is full of activity this weekend, hosting the 80th annual Oregon Logging Conference.

The conference foundation is taking a proactive stop in attracting a younger generation of workers. They invited local high-schoolers to attend the Future Forestry Workers career day for a real-life experience.

Springfield High School senior, Ezra Franklin, explains the controls of a truck, crediting his automotive class at school. Now, he's on the self-guided tour at the Future Forestry Workers career day.

"I think it gives me a better perceptions about what I'm learning in school and applies to the real world out there and how I can use my skills to further pursue what I want do and help other industries out," said Franklin.

Things like this may make him a perfect fit for the Oregon Logging Conference Goal.

"We're lacking young people in our industry right now and that's what this is about," said Rick Kriege, president of the Oregon Logging Conference. "Trying to recruit some young people and educate them."

Students got hands-on experience with the latest logging, trucking and construction equipment, as well as some that includes networking.

"Coming out here is more valuable than some classes that people take because out here, you hear from real people about what they do," said Isaac Barrager, a senior at Springfield High School.

For some, however, this career day is more vital than an extra day in the classroom.

"For students who are in an English class today, they won't be able to see all these loaders and everything else going on," said Kirk Hutchinson, director of Future Natural Resource Leaders. "They won't be able to see that correlation of how the world really works compared to how the world works in schools."

Director Kreige says there are career opportunities available with or without college degrees. The Logging Conference continues through Saturday with free admission.

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