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Promoting Careers in Horticulture
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Promoting Careers in Horticulture

Finding and keeping employees has continuously been a struggle for green industry companies. The industry continues to grow and shortages of skilled employees is growing even faster. Discussions with Pennsylvania colleges have indicated a severe shortage of students going into horticulture based programs and over the past decade many high school and vocational technical school horticulture programs were eliminated due to lack of interest. As a result, the shortages in qualified employees is hampering the growth of green industry companies.

In 2016 PLNA initiated a program to start Promoting Careers in Horticulture and it has taken on various facets.  Currently we have two opportunities for you to volunteer to help us in these tasks.

  • Develop a High School Mentoring Program for Secondary Schools with horticulture programs
  • Mentor and judge FFA landscape teams for their displays at the 2018 PA Farm Show

High School Mentoring Program Task Force

The first objective was to create a High School certification program in answer to the Pennsylvania Department of Education's (PDE) requirement for secondary school horticulture programs. In 2012, PDE created a program of study (POS) in Applied Horticulture/Horticultural Operations, the first step in getting students educated in horticulture. A requirement of the PDE program of study is that the program is aligned with an industry recognized certification. The Pennsylvania Certified Horticulturist (PCH) program is the ideal industry certification for the Horticulture Program of Study (POS).

Accordingly, PLNA created the Pennsylvania Certified Horticulturist (PCH) Associate program. A task force was initiated to identify questions in the current PCH exam which paired with the PDE POS and serves as a core module of the PCH program. Both industry professionals and educators were engaged in the task force assignment.

The next step is to raise awareness of horticulture careers available to parents, students, guidance counselors and teachers. We need to turn around the distorted and often negative perception of horticulture as a career path and increase the number of qualified employees for horticulture industry jobs. 

We need volunteers to help develop a mentoring program for the high schools/vocational schools which currently have horticulture programs.  There are currently 34 schools enrolled in the POS and it is imperative that the industry get involved to ensure these programs continue and grow.  

This Task Force will start its duties in June 2017 with a goal to implement a mentoring program by Fall 2017.  At this time the commitment is limited to development of the program; it is not required that you become a mentor (but it would be appreciated).  Here is a tentative schedule of meetings:

Mid June 2017 - Conference Call

Early July 2017 - Face-to-Face Meeting - location TBD based on demographics of the Task Force

August 2017 - Conference Call

September 2017 - Conference Call

October 2017 - Conference Call (if needed) and Final Face-to-Face Meeting - location TBD

Please note that participating on this task force may require some additional time outside of meetings on your part. 

If you are interested in participating in developing the mentor program, please complete the form below. Please call or email Cathy Corrigan with any questions - ccorrigan@PLNA.com or 717.238.1683. 

 

Mentor and Judge FFA Landscape Team displays for 2018 PA Farm Show

The Pennsylvania FFA has reached out to PLNA to ask for mentors and judges of their Horticulture FFA teams throughout the state.  

In many instances the FFA teams create landscape displays at local or state agriculture fairs and the level of knowledge/expertise in designing and installing these displays falls to the advisor of the team who is most likely a teacher, not a professional in the industry.  FFA would like to step it up in this realm of agriculture and they have called on PLNA for assistance as it relates to the displays at the Pennsylvania Farm Show.  Teams participate from all around the state as this is the show of show's when it comes to Ag in Pennsylvania.

Volunteers for this task force will provide insight into the theme for the displays that is designated by the Farm Show; review and edit the score sheet for judging; review the designs which are due the end of September, and serve as judges for the Farm Show in January 2018.   

This is your opportunity to get involved with your local FFA group and mentor future employees in this industry.

This Task Force will start its duties in June 2017 and participation will continue until the 2018 Farm Show, January 6 - 18. 2018. Here is a tentative schedule of meetings:

Mid June 2017 - Conference Call

Early July 2017 - Face-to-Face Meeting - location TBD based on demographics of the Task Force

August 2017 - Conference Call

September 2017 - Conference Call

Other meetings as needed.

January 6, 2018 - Judge landscape displays at PA Farm Show Complex, Harrisburg

Please note that participating on this task force may require some additional time outside of meetings on your part.

If you are interested in participating in mentoring and judging the FFA teams, please complete the form below. Please call or email Cathy Corrigan with any questions - ccorrigan@PLNA.com or 717.238.1683.

 

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