While lots of college students head to the beach for spring break at this time of year, more than 850 students representing 65 colleges across the country will be en route to Starkville, Mississippi, next week for the National Collegiate Landscape Competition.
They certainly won’t be alone. With about 300,000 jobs that need to be filled in the landscaping industry this year, you can bet there will be plenty of industry professionals on hand to meet the students and talk with them about their goals for the future.
The National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) event, formerly known “Student Career Days,” is marking its 40th anniversary this year with a return to the site of the first competition, Mississippi State University. Set for March 16-19, the event’s schedule and other details are available on this website.
Students will be participating in hands-on competitive activities, educational workshops, presentations and a professional recruitment and networking day. They’ll also receive instruction and practical lessons in tree climbing, safe equipment operation and repair, plant identification and more.
Potential employers, meanwhile, can meet students from several landscape disciplines, including construction, botany, design, business development and management.
“While the event has a rich history spanning four decades, never before has the National Collegiate Landscape Competition been as critical as it is today,” said Missy Henriksen, NALP vice president of public affairs. “These aspiring landscape professionals are in supremely high demand as many American businesses face an uncertain future without adequate labor and management staff.”
The competition’s career recruitment and networking event is scheduled for March 17. Approximately 50 companies from across the United States, including both landscape and lawn-care providers as well as tools and equipment manufacturers, are expected to participate.
The National Collegiate Landscape Competition is supported by the following sponsors: Stihl (Platinum); John Deere (Gold); Caterpillar, Gravely, Husqvarna and New Holland Construction (Silver); and Anchor, Belgard, Brickman, Toro and ValleyCrest (Bronze).