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Attention middle managers and leaders in utility vegetation management: there’s a top-notch, college-level professional development program that can take you deeper inside the industry and improve your career aspirations.

Here’s a recent conversation about the Pro-UVM Certification Program with Susan Barrett, Outreach Specialist, at the Wisconsin Forestry Center, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

Susan, if someone asked you about the Pro-UVM Certification Course, what would be your brief elevator speech?

I would tell them the New Year is a great time to join the program. The first set of courses kick off on January 8, 2024 and people progress through the program from there. The training is composed of two certificates and a credential preparation course, which are designed to be taken in order.

The first, “Foundations of Utility Vegetation Management” Certificate, includes the study of these five topics:

  • UVM 1: North American Electrical Systems
  • UVM 2: Utility Arboriculture
  • UVM 3: Leadership and Organizations
  • UVM 4: Program and Project Management
  • UVM 5: Integrated Vegetation Management

The second sequence of courses, the “Utility Vegetation Management Professional” Certificate, begins on January 15, 2024.

  • UVM 6: Compliance and Stakeholder Management
  • UVM 7: Scope, Cost, and Procurement Management
  • UVM 8: Safety, Risk and Quality Management
  • Credential Prep course: UVM 9: Program Planning

 If anyone is interested, they should check out the website and register before December 29, 2023.

How do you know if the Pro-UVM Certification Program is the right fit for you?

While these courses are open to anyone, we find that people are most successful if they have been in the utility and/or arboriculture industries for a couple of years. The program is a college-level training program designed for those motivated individuals seeking management and/or leadership positions. The courses are 100% online, and reading and writing intensive, so decent writing skills and excellent time-management are important.

The Pro-UVM Program is designed to develop and enhance knowledge, rather than introduce people to the field of UVM. No degree is required for participation in the program and students will gain the knowledge and skills needed to plan and manage sustainable UVM program plans. It is often used as a pathway for career development and advancement within the industry.

Why is the Pro-UVM Program an important step for industry professionals?

This is a comprehensive training program that is designed and taught by industry professionals. These experts will lead you through the knowledge and skills needed to plan and manage sustainable utility vegetation management program plans.  The courses will help enhance the understanding and application of the industry’s best practices, including safety, integrated vegetation management, project management, and sustainable utility corridor planning.

 Are there scholarships available? How easy is it to apply?

Full-tuition scholarships are available to individuals living in California and bordering states through PG&E and in partnership with the UAA. Applying for funding is quick and painless on the scholarship website.

If you don’t live in the Western U.S., you should know that many utility companies will cover tuition costs so their employees can become “Certified UVM Professionals.” Contact your supervisor and/or human resources department directly for more information.

 What kind of feedback have you received from those who have been through Pro-UVM Certification?

 Here are just a few graduates sharing how much they benefitted from the program.

 I am very grateful to staff from UWSP, the UAA, and PG&E for the high-quality exposure to UVM education and exposure to new facets of the industry. – Jesse Barajas, 2023 Pro-UVM Graduate

I was surprised by the knowledge I acquired in all of my courses and was shocked to learn all the stakeholders involved to manage a successful UVM Program. – Alejandro Hernandez, 2023 Pro-UVM Graduate

The Pro-UVM Credential Program has provided me the opportunity to be exposed to and develop an understanding about the program management within the UVM space, that previously I had little to no knowledge or understanding of. The knowledge I’ve gained in the program has helped me adjust, grasp, and execute new program tasks as a supervisor much faster. – Patrick Van Horne, 2023 Pro-UVM Graduate

The certification program helped me to better understand the industry, my department, and my job role. I was inspired by course instructors and participants!” –  Leo Martinez, 2023 Pro-UVM Graduate

The Pro-UVM courses are also pre-approved for continuing education units with the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA).  If you’d like to learn more, visit the Pro-UVM website or email us at uvm@uwsp.edu. Remember the deadline is December 29, 2023 for the courses starting in early January 2024.