I was laid off from work with Intel Corporation in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in June 2009. I got an opportunity to go back to college and have it all paid for, plus draw unemployment for the two years that I am in school. It was a tough decision to go back to college at my age, 50, but it was too good an offer to turn down. I finished high school in 1980, so it has been 30 years since I have been in school, and boy how things have changed. I wish that I could have chosen Forestry when I graduated from high school, but live and learn.
What I’m doing:
I was raised on a big farm in Michigan and love being outdoors. I always told myself I would not be happy sitting behind a desk, but, working for Intel, that is where I ended up. The idea of becoming a forester sounded like a career I would enjoy.
After doing some research on the Internet, I found there were a lot of career opportunities in forestry and that the pay is good. My next step was to find a school that had a forestry program. I searched the Internet and found that Mississippi State had a great four‐year forestry program. But, the government program stipulated that I needed to attend a two‐year college. I talked to MSU recruiter Tedrick Ratcliff, and he recommended EMCC’s Forestry Technology program.
The Forestry program at EMCC is outstanding. Our labs include touring logging jobs, sawmills, a particle board plant, a pole mill, tree planting operations, a pine seedling nursery, and actual timber cruising. These hands‐on experiences are excellent learning opportunities. And I have worked as a volunteer at the Noxubee Wildlife Refuge; this has enabled me to meet other foresters and learn about working for the federal government.
My goal is to graduate from EMCC and then go to work for the federal government in Forestry Recreation. I love working with people and being outdoors. There are many career opportunities in forestry recreation throughout the U.S. I would like to move to Colorado, but I am not opposed to staying in the Starkville area.
Take school seriously, study hard and make good grades. Employers will look at your GPA. A high GPA will help you land a great job. If you make the wrong career choice early in life, like I did, you are never too old to go back to school and change careers.
His instructor, Bob Walker, says:
When David entered the Forestry Technology program in spring 2010, he was quiet and seemed unsure of himself. It took him a little while to get used to attending class with students 30 years younger than him. David is determined to be successful in this enormous career change in his life. He fits in with his classmates. He is serious about his studies and strives to learn everything he can about the forestry business. He is not afraid to ask questions and seek advice from others. I know he will successfully move into his new career in forestry.