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Hoppe’s Arborist Apprenticeship Program

Written by: August Hoppe, President Hoppe Tree Service, Certified Arborist WI-0477A

The labor shortage has been making big headlines lately and affects multiple industries. The fact

is employers must get more creative in finding new ways to recruit and retain employees. The

tree care industry is no exception. Over the last few years, Hoppe Tree Service has helped build

Wisconsin’s first Arborist Apprenticeship Program. The program makes the tree industry more

attractive for new employees and provides a pathway to becoming a skilled arborist over three

years. This program is now being used by other states and tree care companies around the nation.

Several Hoppe apprentices completed their program coursework in Spring 2021

The Arborist Apprenticeship Program consists of on-the-job training with a workbook that trainers

sign when an employee can demonstrate skill at a task. Classroom instruction is also a major part

of the program. Hoppe apprentices complete two weeks of classroom training every semester at

Milwaukee Area Technical College. Finally, apprentice hours are tracked for each skill apprentices

learn to make sure they have enough experience at each task. Examples include 1,000 hours of

aerial work and 750 hours of chainsaw use. The program culminates with the International Society

of Arboriculture’s Certified Arborist exam. Once the apprentice satisfactorily completes the program

they become a skilled journeyworker arborist.

Hoppe Tree Service has successfully used the program for the past five years to recruit and

train our staff. We are proud to say that this spring and summer six of our employees completed

the apprenticeship coursework. This fall we have many employees enrolled and working on the

classroom portion.

Eight Hoppe crew members joined the program as year one apprentices in 2021

The investment in training pays off every day. Apprentices are learning necessary skills. The quality, productivity and safety of their work increases and they see a roadmap for a successful career in the tree care industry. Utilizing this training program has made Hoppe Tree Service a leading company that arborists and future arborists want to work for and has helped our company meet the labor crisis head on. We congratulate our journeyworker employees, and thank our 13 arborist apprentices working their way through the program right now.

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