If there’s one thing landscaping professionals agree on, it’s that finding workers—especially those with relevant skills—to complete their projects is becoming more of a challenge. As the industry collectively seeks to develop a strong and steady workforce, the National Association of Landscape Professionals launched in February the Landscape Management Apprenticeship Program. Registered with the U.S. Department of Labor, the program seeks to address the labor shortage by providing job seekers an entree into a landscaping career via paid apprenticeships.
By matching budding landscape employees with seasoned professionals, the hope is for the program to revolutionize recruitment and career development.
“Apprenticeship programs are the golden ticket to recruiting and retaining top-tier talent,” Missy Henriksen, NALP’s vice president of public affairs, said in a statement. “Offering an apprenticeship program gives companies a competitive edge and allows the landscape profession to be more competitive with other industries struggling for entry-level talent.”
Indeed, NALP is encouraging established landscaping companies to join the program. Companies with an interest in creating an apprenticeship program could receive grants to cover equipment and training costs, as the association indicates a “significant” amount of both state and federal funding is available. Enrollment eligibility is limited to companies in business for at least one year, and participating businesses are responsible for fulfilling six key functions:
- Choosing current workers or hiring new employees to become apprentices
- Training apprentices in the industry’s core competencies
- Selecting a practiced mentor to work with each apprentice
- Ensuring progressive wage increases as apprentices master more skills
- Sharing necessary program participant information to NALP
- Enrolling the participants and making investments in requisite online training
“Apprenticeships are a known solution for attracting and developing highly-skilled employees in industries ranging from construction and plumbing to automotive, mechanical and more,” says Henriksen. “The establishment of this program helps our industry to level the playing field when it comes to finding workers and building a pipeline of future employees. As an association, we are putting great emphasis into promoting this program through advertising and outreach to schools, guidance counselors and veterans to help landscape contractors find quality apprenticeship candidates.”
To learn more about the program and to read a comprehensive list of requirements, read NALP’s Landscape Management Apprenticeship Handbook.