In its first year participating, the NALP Foundation held a demonstration for a high school landscape competition at the SkillsUSA National Leadership & Skills Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, on June 21-24. SkillsUSA is a nonprofit education association, serving middle-school, high-school and college/postsecondary students preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations.
More than 6,600 high school students, all state contest winners, competing for the national title in their category – participated in hands-on competitions in 108 different trade, technical and leadership fields. Students work against the clock and each other, proving their expertise in occupations such as construction, plumbing, computer-aided drafting, mechanics, electrical, medical assisting, culinary arts, etc.
Contests are run with the help of industry, trade associations and labor organizations, and test competencies are set by the industry. An additional 6,000 students were in attendance to support their classmates, attend educational sessions and network with industry and fellow students.
Along with a written test component, students competing in the new Landscape Horticulture competition will demonstrate skills including plant ID, landscape design, estimating, evaluation of client needs/scope of work, and sales presentation. With tremendous interest from educators, state directors and students, the Foundation and supporting teams will work to tweak the new landscape competition in preparation for next year’s multiple student competitors.
The NALP Foundation had enormous industry support for this event.
“Right from the start, SiteOne took the lead to support this new venture to create this competition at SkillsUSA,” says Jenn Myers, executive director for NALP Foundation. “Mary Kay Woodworth, CEO for Georgia Urban Ag Council, was instrumental in helping with planning, logistics, and volunteers on a local level”.
This is a team effort, and with additional support from Ed Castro Landscape, Ewing, Landcare, Landmark Landscapes, Outdoor Expressions, Plants Creative Landscapes, Russell Landscape Group, and Tolar Capitol Partners, both at the career booth and with the new competition, the show was a success.
Additionally, Oklahoma high school instructor Kara Murphy and her student Avery helped showcase the new landscape event.
“We are thrilled to be able to have this opportunity to inspire and educate some of these young students to become the next generation of landscape professionals,” says Teddy Russell, NALP Foundation president.
The 2023 SkillsUSA National Leadership & Skills Conference will be held in Atlanta, Georgia, for the next four years. Support, both financially and as part of the planning and onsite teams, is paramount to the success of this initiative. If you would like to support and/or volunteer for this initiative, please email the firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.