Case Study


Maryland Workforce Development Program Launches Careers in Tree Care


Work2Live WELL trainees learn personal safety and techniques for careers in arboriculture. All but one graduate was employed six months after the program’s completion.

Work2Live WELL program offers a gateway to “living wage” careers in land- and water-based jobs for unemployed young adults. The Maryland Forest Service managed the tree care training element of the program.

Baltimore, Maryland

Humid subtropical: hot summers, mild winters.


63% African American, 27% non-Hispanic white, 5% Hispanic, 3% Asian, 2% two or more races, 1% other

The training began with the basics of tree biology and built up to the more highly skilled types of tree care work at Patapsco Valley State park near Baltimore — where participants could observe and participate in rehabilitation of winter-damaged trees. Four full days were devoted to field activities, including tree identification, equipment use [chainsaws, chippers, bucket trucks], arboriculture techniques and climbing. Part of every day was devoted to safety training, including utility “hot wire” practices.

In spring 2018, 18 of 23 young adults graduated from the eight-week program offered by the Maryland Departments of Labor and Natural Resources.


The program is funded through EARN Maryland, the state’s nationally-recognized workforce solution grant program and is its first direct investment in the public sector.


Tree Care Program Elements

  • Basic tree biology and identification
  • Introduction to forestry
  • Introduction to arboriculture and the care of trees
  • Personal safety and safety equipment, including “hot wire” techniques
  • Hand tool training and safety
  • Climbing techniques
  • Heavy equipment training — bucket trucks and chippers — and safety
  • Climbing techniques
  • Pruning and removals
  • Supervised use of chain saws with removing storm damaged downed trees
  • Career day with local employer

Program participants were paid a weekly stipend.


Maryland Forest Service, Department of Natural Resources

Maryland Department of Labor

Maryland Department of Occupational Health and Safety

Local tree care companies

Baltimore Gas and Electric

Volunteer arborists

Lessons Learned

Intensive combination of career-skills and hands-on training promotes hiring and retention

Career day links participants with potential employers