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Kentucky Ag News Headlines
Students to Demo Professional Skills at Landscape Contest
Kentucky Ag Connection - 03/20/2019

The National Association of Landscape Professionals -- the trade association for the landscape industry -- will bring together over 1,500 students, eager-to-hire employers, faculty and volunteers at the 43rd annual National Collegiate Landscape Competition from March 20 to 22. The event is part of the association's continued effort to grow the lawn and landscape profession's workforce, as the industry aims to fill 300,000 positions in 2019 alone. Hosted at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo., the three-day event will feature the country's largest landscape skills competition, educational workshops, presentations from the industry's top professionals and a career fair.

NCLC is a key event in helping the professional landscape industry fill the extreme labor shortage within the industry by cultivating the talents of the future professional landscape industry leaders. The competition provides top students enrolled in interior and exterior horticulture programs at two- and four-year colleges and universities the opportunity to connect with professionals from the field during the career fair and networking events. Students highlight their professional skillset by participating in competitions ranging from arboriculture techniques (tree climbing) and 3D landscape design to skid steer loader operation and small engine repair.

"The National Collegiate Landscape Competition has spanned over four decades, but the event is more critical now than ever before," says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NALP. "This one-of-a-kind competition shines a light on the important work landscape professionals do every day to build and maintain healthy green spaces, while showcasing the wide array of lucrative career pathways in the industry. By helping to support the next generation of landscape professionals, this competition plays a major role in filling open positions in the industry with qualified, skilled professionals and raising public awareness for green industry careers."

With the $93 billion industry experiencing an extreme shortage of qualified workers, students can expect abundant networking opportunities throughout the three-day recruitment event, featuring over 100 of the top industry employers on site. Eager-to-hire employers will be exposed to more than 840 of the best landscape and horticulture college students with expertise in areas including construction, greenhouse/production, design, business development and management at the competition's career fair on March 21. Most students leave the career fair and networking events with their pick of internships or jobs throughout the country.

To further aid students studying to become lawn and landscape professionals, the National Association of Landscape Professionals Foundation will present scholarships to 67 students in attendance of the annual event, totaling over $86,000.

"Colorado State University is thrilled to welcome the National Collegiate Landscape Competition back to our campus for the fourth time in the event's history," says Zach Johnson, Colorado State University professor of landscape design and contracting. "The competition is the culmination of the hard work and effort of hundreds of students across the country. The event gives students the chance to demonstrate their impressive range of skills in front of top employers and prove how qualified they are for a career in the industry."

Major sponsors for the 2019 National Collegiate Landscape Competition include STIHL Inc.; John Deere; Caterpillar, Inc.; Gravely and Husqvarna. For more information, visit www.landscapecompetition.org.

Competitors this year include Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond.

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