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Forklift Operators

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This is a Demand OccupationA Demand Occupation is defined as follows.

The hierarchy for qualification is the Regional Demand
(the occupation had a entry wage equal to or greater
than 90% of the Economic Development Region (EDR) negotiated
wage as an average of all LWIA’s in the EDR AND at
least 25 annual average job openings in the EDR);
State Wide (the occupation qualified for at least
5 of the Regional Demands and thus was added to all
ten EDR lists); Career Cluster (the occupation is
listed on at least one of the six career clusters
Illinois has identified as priority [data is available
under the career clusters on the The National
Association of State Directors of Career Technical
Education Consortium website at ]), and Regional
Request (an LWIA received approval of a request to
add an occupation code to its EDR list based on substantiative
data and information supporting a need in the region).
NOTE: Only those occupations with a Source of Regional
Demand or State Wide will be eligible for incentive
bonus award under the Minimum Training Expenditure
policy requirements.

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Forklift Operators - Occupation Overview

  • Use tractors and trucks to lift heavy loads
  • Often wear safety gear such as hard hats and gloves
  • May work morning or night shifts
  • Most learn their skills on the job
  • Have a medium level of social interaction
  • Earn $28,189 per year (Illinois median)
  • Earn $30,220 per year (national median)

Forklift operators use tractors to lift and move heavy loads of materials.

Most forklift operators work in warehouses and factories. Forklifts are also called industrial trucks and tractors.

Before moving items, forklift operators make sure that loads are not too heavy for their vehicle. They weigh loads and record the information on tags or labels. Many loads are on wooden platforms called pallets. Forklift operators use levers and knobs in the cab of the vehicle to raise the forklift device and the pallet. After moving a load they slide the forklift out from under the pallet.

Forklift operators work to make sure they and their coworkers are safe while they are operating equipment. Forklift operators signal other workers that the load is clear of the forklift and that materials can be unloaded.

Forklift operators may perform other duties as well. Some operators tend machines that prepare loads to be moved by automatically stacking, packaging, or cutting materials. They may also hook tow trucks, using hitches and pins, to other equipment.

Forklift operators keep records of the materials they move. Some drive vehicles that require a commercial driver's license or another type of certification.

Forklift operators maintain their vehicles and forklift devices. They make sure that all parts are oiled and that vehicles have enough fuel. If there are problems with equipment, forklift operators talk with mechanics about them.


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