Powered Industrial Trucks 

Industrial Power Lift Truck (Forklift) Training (FORK 201)

Man using forklift inside a warehouse


Forklift Training (FORK 201)

The Joliet Junior College district has become a distribution center for the Midwest in the last decade. Local warehouses and distribution center offer numerous job openings for trained industrial truck drivers. The powered industrial truck, commonly referred to as the forklift, is used in every distribution center, major retail store, and manufacturing facilities. Classes are held at the Joliet Junior College Weitendorf facility.  Individuals will receive training on the various forklifts including the sit-down, order picker, stand-up, and walkie rider. Participants will receive drive time on each machine as well as earning the National Safety Council Certification for Industrial Lift Trucks.

Call 815-280-1555 for current class schedule and course fees.


Median hourly wages of material moving workers according to the Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook (May 2008): Industrial truck and tractor operators $13.98

Wages vary according to experience and job responsibilities. Wages usually are higher in metropolitan areas. Seasonal peaks and lulls in workload can affect the number of hours scheduled, which affects earnings. Some material movers are union members, and these workers tend to earn higher wages.

Job Outlook

Despite little or no change in employment, numerous job openings will be created by the need to replace workers who leave this very large occupation. Employment in material moving occupations is projected to decline by 1 percent between 2008 and 2018. Improvements in equipment, such as automated storage and retrieval systems and conveyors, and in supply management processes, such as automatic identification and data collection (AIDC), will continue to raise productivity and reduce the demand for material movers.

Job growth for material movers depends on the growth or decline of employing industries and the type of equipment the workers operate or the materials they handle. Employment should grow in the warehousing and storage industry as more firms contract out their warehousing functions to this industry. Opportunities for material movers should decline in manufacturing due to productivity improvements and outsourcing of warehousing and other activities that depend on material movers. Opportunities will vary by establishment size as well, as large establishments are more likely to have the resources to invest in automated systems for their material moving needs. Although increasing automation will eliminate some routine tasks, many jobs will remain to meet the need to operate and maintain new equipment.

Despite the projected employment decline, a relatively high number of job openings will be created by the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations, retire, or leave this very large occupation for other reasons—characteristic of occupations requiring little prior or formal training. Many industries where material moving workers are employed are sensitive to changes in economic conditions, so the number of job openings fluctuates with the economy.

Nature of the Work

Industrial truck and tractor operators drive and control industrial trucks or tractors that move materials around warehouses, storage yards, factories, construction sites, or other worksites. A typical industrial truck, often called a forklift or lift truck, has a hydraulic lifting mechanism and forks for moving heavy and large objects. Industrial truck and tractor operators also may operate tractors that pull trailers loaded with materials, goods, or equipment within factories and warehouses or around outdoor storage areas.

Work Environment

Material moving work tends to be repetitive and physically demanding. Workers may lift and carry heavy objects and stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl in awkward positions. Some work at great heights and some work outdoors—regardless of weather and climate. Some jobs expose workers to fumes, odors, loud noises, harmful materials and chemicals, or dangerous machinery. To protect their eyes, respiratory systems, and hearing, these workers wear safety clothing, such as gloves, hardhats, and other safety devices such as respirators. These jobs have become less dangerous as safety equipment—such as overhead guards on lift trucks—has become common. Accidents usually can be avoided by observing proper operating procedures and safety practices.

Material movers generally work 8-hour shifts—though longer shifts are not uncommon. In industries that work around the clock, material movers may work overnight shifts. Some do this because their employers do not want to disturb customers during normal business hours. Refuse and recyclable material collectors often work shifts starting at 5 or 6 a.m. Some material movers work only during certain seasons, such as when the weather permits construction activity.

Call Joliet Junior College at 815-280-1555 to register.

As OSHA's lists clearly show, avoiding accidents must be a top priority for any shipper that operates a warehouse or distribution center. Those lists provide one roadmap for achieving compliance.

Joliet Junior College feels the same way. A top priority within our training programs is to provide participants with the knowledge to safely inspect and operate the various lift trucks.